Harvest eventually started on 1 August, a week later than normal and on wheat as the oilseed rape was still green three weeks after desiccation, mainly due to such variation in the crop when it was sprayed.
We managed three days cutting the wheat below 15% moisture content before being rained off. Setting up the dryer in advance was a good move.
Yields so far have been slightly below average and there’s not much hope of improvement as we move away from early-drilled first wheats to late-drilled seconds. As for the spring beans, only time will tell.
I have got a new toy on the combine – John Deere‘s Autosteer kit, which allows brilliantly straight and consistent 6m cutting widths so I can concentrate on operating rather than steering in daylight. But when I turn on the lights there’s a voltage drop in the current power supply and it keeps making me steer. I suppose next time it’s raining, wiring a new supply will occupy me.
Another rainy day job will be to add an update to Farmers Weekly’s Crime Register. We had the mobile entrepreneurs helping themselves to scrap again the other day. As they left, they cheekily waved to a tractor driver coming up the drive.
The discussion about the best method for establishing oilseed rape will soon be in full flow. We have chosen to stick with the Simba DTX and air seeder. But to improve establishment timeliness we have got together with my dad. He will be using his tractor to pull it along with a Nitrojet liquid nitrogen applicator to get the plants established and off to a good start. This will also save us a bit of fertiliser and a pass with the spreader.
Matt Redman is arable foreman for A G Burton & Partners, Silsoe, Bedfordshire. The 530ha farm grows around 350ha of wheat, oilseed rape and beans and 80ha forage maize, the rest is grassland and woodland. The farm also has a dairy herd of around 300 Holsteins and a commercial shoot. Matt Redman (@redmanmatt) is on Twitter.
arable farmer focus: Matt Redman