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I briefly thought, on one of the few nice August days as the combine zoomed across a field of 15% moisture wheat, that I’d been wrong to cut and dry so much from 19% earlier.

Sadly, the honeymoon period soon ended, the faithful Opico/GT drier combination has seen much use, and gas bills are dropping through the letter box with alarming regularity. The time taken to run the drier and move extra wheat around has added massively to the workload and cost of production.

Happily we’ve finished harvesting our wheat, although with some drying still to do. Our policy of having plenty of combine capacity has been fantastic this year and helped others to finish too. I’m confident that the wheat market will be unaffected by my admission that yields have been excellent, with generally good quality.

This is our second year of yield mapping with the combine, and a quick look through the data shows that on a small acreage of our wheat the increasing rabbit population can be devastating. This was obviously no surprise to anyone, but seeing the printed evidence does drive the point home. When time allows we will study the maps properly and overlay them with our nutrient maps for comparison.

Oilseed drilling has been challenging, with a variety of establishment techniques and seed rates used according to ‘field factors’ on the day. We even ploughed some light land which, while a relatively slow job, has given that block a very good start. Elsewhere slugs are very active, and it was difficult to roll some fields between the rains.

Where necessary slug pellets and pre emergence herbicides have been applied, and nitrogen, phosphate and potash have gone on as straights using GPS guidance and prescribed GPS guided rate control for the P and K.

philip.bradshaw@tiscali.co.uk

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