Combining will probably have just about finished when you read this. Actually this year we renamed it forage harvesting due to the amount of green straw that we have put through the combine.

We currently have 150ha of wheat, spring oats and beans left to cut. Painfully slow, too much drying, variable and below average yields of not very good-quality grain sum it all up. We have been luckier than many and so far have not had to pull the combine out. I just want to finish and forget all about it.

Yields of the milling wheat have been about 10% to 15% down and the Group 3 variety Invicta more than 20% down. My in-field trials of the three SDHI fungicides show that there was no advantage over the farm standard of triazole, Bravo (chlorothalonil) and Comet (pyraclostrobin). All were field-scale trials on different soil types and varieties, cut and weighed over the farm weighbridge then corrected for moisture. I think one of the trials comparing two of the new fungicides against the farm standard really suffered from depressed yields. A field of Invicta which should have yielded 10t/ha only managed 7t/ha. Large ears which were full of potential produced shrivelled grain and poor specific weights.

The oilseed rape went into moist seed-beds. The Rhino and Camelot emerged quite quickly, but PR46W21 has been much slower, maybe a result of colder, wetter soils. I normally try to grow all my crops without the use of slug pellets as I would much rather rely on cultivations and beneficial insects. However, I have applied a low rate to the struggling PR46W21.

Something to look forward to – the Henley and District Agricultural annual ploughing match takes place here on Sunday 7 October and this year will feature working demonstrations of both old and modern machinery.

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