Aphid control

William Hebditch - October 6th, 2018.

It’s been a long time since I last wrote anything, my apologies.  Well, our season has come to an end. The lovely dry weather has been a real boon, so much easier harvesting with the sun on your back rather than the rain. Fruit quality has been good, quantity a bit down due to the rotten spring but sugars and solid matter content high. We even had blackcurrant berries with over 20% sugars, awesome. After a very difficult start with our staff, issuing more P45’s than ever before, we ended up with a nice group of hardworking Romanians. Said goodbye to the last 2 today.

It’s a real autumnal look out of the window today, cold wet and windy, leaves flying all over the place. Liz laid some turf yesterday, so the rain is very welcome for that. I wonder if we’ll have another explosion of field mushrooms next week? I’ve been doing a lot of spraying recently and have driven over more ‘shrooms than I’ve seen for ages. If they come up again it will definitely be mushroom soup time.  It is amazing how spraying for aphids in the autumn has become the norm. All down to careful investigation into aphids flight habits. Most of the aphids that are pests on our perennial crops have an alternative summer host plant. They return to breed and lay overwintering eggs on the woody plants. As there is no new leaf growth, they don’t cause leaves to curl up and so are a much easier target for us to spray. The chemical residues disappear before the next year and we don’t have problems during the flowering period when the little blighters are most active and causing maximum damage. A good result for us peasants.

We’re still wondering what on earth will happen with the ghastly Brexit thing. Will we be able to get pickers next year? We at least have a trial SAWs scheme again, but only 2500 people not the 60,000 required by British agriculture. I suppose it’s a start, but of no use to us in the next couple of years. I endlessly wonder who mends Rees Mogg’s cars, delivers his parcels, does his plumbing, building works, cares for elderly relations let alone produce his food. Oh, but of course, he’s taking his money offshore. He’s taking back control I suppose! I recently read an article which claimed Brexit is already costing £500m per week. What was that slogan on the bus?

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