Richard Brown made a bid for the fastest combine in the West yesterday, when the brakes failed on his second-hand Case.

A new addition to Priors Farm, Newbury, Berkshire this year, the 1982 Case jumped out of gear and took off down the steepest part of the farm.

“I was just waiting for the header to dig in, and do a loop-the-loop,” said Mr Brown. “It was probably doing 30MPH.”

However, he was still thrilled with his £8000 purchase, which only had 1400 hours on the clock and been kept indoors all of its life. “It’s going beautifully, and is making a cracking sample.”

Mr Brown was combining spring barley today (14 August), but with the barn nearly full, planned to pull off that and move onto the wheat or spring oats.

“We want to try and put as much away dry as we can – I don’t want a repeat of last year at £1000/week for oil.”

The 40ha (100 acres) of Tipple and Quench spring barley had yielded well so far, at 7.4t/ha (3t/acre).

That left 24ha (60 acres) to finish, after the 55ha (135 acres) of Alchemy winter wheat – which had chitted – and 12ha (30 acres) of Atago spring oats.

“We’re going to save some oat seed and broadcast it on after the wheat. We’ll leave it over the winter to put down roots and hold onto some nitrogen before sowing the spring barley.”

Son George, who was contract combining at Sheepdrove Farm, Lambourn, said the organic oats and spring barley were yielding extremely well, at about 4.9t/ha (2t/acre) each.

Crop: Spring barley
Varieties: Tipple and Quench
Area: 40ha (100 acres)
Yield: 7.4t/ha (3t/acre)

Crop: Oilseed rape
Variety: Dimension
Area: 66ha (164 acres)
Yield: 3.2/ha (1.3t/acre)

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Duxford winter wheat is an HGCA Recommended List 2009/10 variety with very high UK treated yields and a maximum 9 rating for resistance to lodging with and without PGR. Combined with the highest second wheat yield and a balanced disease resistance profile, Duxford will continue to help UK growers meet the challenge of producing more grain profitably.

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