Harvest kind of started like the Olympics, full of hope for certain crops earlier this year before it started, but then got off to a slow start with a number of high hopes failing to deliver.
Although there was no elaborate opening ceremony – that amount of fireworks and people on the farm would fill the grain store with paperwork – and unlike the athletes who didn’t reach expectation, I don’t think some wheat varieties will get a second chance on this farm.
So far one crop that has done well this season is DK Cabenet oilseed rape, almost reaching 4t/ha, so last month’s dilemma has been resolved and will be grown again next season – in fact, some has already been planted. One crop that has not done well is the Invicta wheat, with a poor sample dominated by small, shrivelled grains it’s unlikely it will be grown again.
While there seems to be a trend this season for getting combines stuck, we’ve been lucky. Fields that had been rather wet earlier on had dried pretty well. However, I think we could almost be called experts in the removal of our combine front wheels and puncture mending. In the end new inner tubes weren’t the answer and a 4am Saturday morning road trip resulted in a set of wider tyres to replace our dodgy, rather narrow originals.
Away from harvest, I’ve been trying to learn what feels like a new language; GPS. After going through a number of options and their possibilities for future upgrades I’m looking forward to a “hands-free” autumn as I’ve now managed to get GPS steering in both the main sprayer and Lightspray; so pre-emergences and Avadex (tri-allate) application should be easier, more accurate and perfectly straight.
Let’s hope that like the Olympics, the slow start to harvest will end with a “good haul” – looking at it so far though it could be more like Team Australia’s Olympics than Team GB’s.
Matt Redman operates an agricultural contracting business and helps out on the family farm at lower Gravehurst, Bedfordshire. The 210ha farm grows mainly wheat, oilseed rape and beans
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