Two of our Barometer farmers, Andrew Pendry and Kitpaworth, takes us through how their harvest has fared.

Andrew Pendry
Isle of Sheppey, Kent

Despite the weather making harvest a stop-start affair in the east of the country, the finishing line is just around the corner for southern Barometer farmer Andrew Pendry.

“It’s been a stressful season, but without the boys it would have been awful,” said Mr Pendry of Burden Bros.

This harvest has seen the oilseed rape average 3.74t/ha with some fairly variable yields across the board. “We cut plenty of rape over 4t/ha so we were hoping to average something close to that, but we had some rape that only yielded 2.5-2.75t/ha which has dragged our average down.

“This harvest’s varieties were split between Flash, PR46W21 and Dimension, and although there were no real yield differences between them all, lodging was an issue. Late drilling, protracted flowering and heavy rains didn’t help either,” added Mr Pendry.

“This harvest’s varieties were split between Flash, PR46W21 and Dimension, and although there were no real yield differences between them all, lodging was an issue. Late drilling, protracted flowering and heavy rains didn’t help either.”
Andrew Pendry

Last season the OSR was not planted until the end of August and the emerging plants struggled to get established during a very dry September and October. “In a normal season I would like to see the rape planted at the beginning of August in order to give it the best start,” he said.

By the beginning of last week (21 August) wheat harvest was gathering pace in order to fulfil grain contracts for forward-sold wheat. “We have dried about 1,000t which has enabled good progress and kept everyone happy.

“Group 1s and 2s have turned out well and have yielded in excess of 10t/ha over the farm weighbridge here. Gallant saw proteins range from 12-12.8% and specific weights varying between 70-72kg/hl. Cordiale managed a protein content of 13% and weighed a very respectable 74kg/hl.”

However, newcomer Crusoe has been the star of the show averaging some 10.6t/ha, 13.1 protein and Hagberg of 340. “I am beginning to wonder what it might yield in a more normal season. It’s a stark contrast to the Claire that has yielded a poor 7-7.5t/ha with a specific weight of 66-70,” added Mr Pendry.

About 30ha of spring wheat and 40ha of winter oats are left to cut and are ready to go when the weather allows. Oilseed rape planting is gathering pace and 240ha of 400ha have already been planted.

Combining won’t be completed for Burden Bros until the grain maize has been harvested. They are looking for a yield of 10t/ha from the Dominator and K13 and the crop is generally harvested at 32-35% moisture before being crimped for animal feed.

Kit Papworth
Felmingham, Norfolk

Life has been hectic for eastern Barometer farmer Kit Papworth, but the good news is oilseed rape yields have held up well.

“We have seen an average yield close to 5t/ha which is very pleasing considering the year. The crop has been grown on virgin rape ground and this explains why our yields have been so good,” he said.

Kit Papworth“Spring barleys have gone well with yields between 6.5-7t/ha. The Concerto barley had some screenings, but there was a good straw crop that has now been baled.”

“We have seen an average yield close to 5t/ha which is very pleasing considering the year. The crop has been grown on virgin rape ground and this explains why our yields have been so good.”
Kit Papworth

Wheat harvest is progressing well and about 40% has been cut and so far it seems the early drilled light land crops are coming out on top. “The heavier land seems to be yielding less well despite the same varieties being grown. Most of the wheat area is down to Claire and KWS Santiago and the specific weights have been a little disappointing, like everyone else’s.”

Vining peas were finally finished a week ago despite being difficult to harvest. Yields for the crop were a little variable at 5-6.5t/ha.

Oilseed rape drilling started today (28 August) and next year’s area will be 50% DK Cabernet, 25% Sesame with the rest split between candidate hybrid variety Marathon and a new DK variety.

Tomorrow will see salad potatoes being lifted. “This will be a relief as we have been under a constant threat from blight and slugs.”

The 272ha of sugar beet has received a second fungicide and looks “pretty average,” all wild oats have been rouged and bolters have been mechanically trimmed.