Tongue End farmer on scourge of British agriculture

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The recent turn of good weather has been a great help in progressing the autumn field work, writes Julian Davis.

I was becoming concerned a couple of weeks ago as the soils were getting progressively wetter with a succession of storms coming off the North Sea.

As with many, we must sit and play the waiting game. Wait until a major flush of Black Grass has germinated and kill it with glyphosate before sowing the next crop of wheat.

This year’s weather patterns have produced Black Grass seed with high dormancy so it is a little more reluctant to grow, which makes the job a little more difficult.

It is amazing how this one weed is changing the shape of British agriculture. It is unlikely that there will be any miracle chemical cure as the weed is only a problem for the UK and some other areas of northern Europe. The market potential for a global chemical company considering developing a product is very small and not worth the risk of the research cost.

The other problem I see is that, even with Brexit, we are still going to see more reductions in the range of chemicals available to aid food production. A chemical-free Europe may eventually be on the cards. Well, that is while food is cheap and in a plentiful supply, ie we can still buy it from other countries where the workers are paid a pittance. ‘Fair Trade’?