Richard Beachell farms in a joint venture with his neighbour at Bainton near Driffield, East Yorks. The 380ha block is a medium to heavy Wold soil growing milling wheat, malting barley, oilseed rape & vining peas for Birds Eye.
Attending the Cereals event is a necessity in my calendar, and once again it proved to be the number-one show, catering for all my requirements, be it information, freebies or the odd hog roast – or three.
Top of the shopping list was a GPS lightbar guidance system to enable us to spray off worked stubbles accurately without the need for marking out.
Stubble hygiene is becoming extra important, as there seems to be a lot of brome creeping in from the 2m margins across parts of the farm.
Experience proves this is awkward to control and it’s especially annoying that the increased grassweed burden is coming from cross-compliance just when it seemed the battle was being won.
There will be extra cost in herbicide sequences and sterile strips to solve the problem.
Our quest for an employee for the busy harvest period is also a becoming struggle. As I write the vacancy is still unfilled and there is certainly no stream of forthcoming offers.
If this continues, an appraisal of our harvest system will be required, as our two 40-year-old continuous flow driers use old-fashioned technology and must be manned at all times.
As mentioned in my last article, the farm’s cropping has been examined and as a result next year will see spring barley grown here for the first time for a number of years.
An attractive contract and significantly lower input costs have made the decision easy and it will give us another way of controlling the brome in these fields.
Cordiale, as a second wheat, will also be grown, replacing some of the Malacca. My rough calculations have shown that the Group 1 milling wheat premium needs to be over £30/t to compensate for the extra costs and risk needed to grow it successfully.