Drilling a companion crop is the order of the day for Cambridgeshire grower David White as soon as early-maturing winter wheat is cut on his light soils.

He is sowing a mix of berseem clover and buckwheat after his wheat was cut in mid-July, and three weeks ahead of drilling oilseed rape into this companion crop.

The idea is that the companion crop roots well and then helps the oilseed rape establish quickly, and so lessens the severity of early pest attacks from the likes of cabbage stem flea beetles.

See also: Video: Wheat harvest makes promising start in Cambridgeshire

The companion crop picks up nutrients in the soils, which can then be released back to feed the oilseed rape when it dies off in the winter.

Watch an update on the winter wheat harvest in Cambridgeshire as Mr White drills his oilseed rape companion crop.

 

Mr White has cut about 22ha of the milling wheat varieties Solstice and Crusoe this month, some two weeks earlier than normal with a yield of about 8t/ha.

“This was not too bad for this year, but was about 1t/ha down on what I would normally expect due to the very hot weather in June,” he told Farmers Weekly.

See also: More harvest 2017 coverage

All the grain is of milling quality at over 13% protein, 76kg/hl specific weight and 250 Hagberg, and was soon delivered to the grain co-operative Camgrain, where he is a member.

Mr White’s 160ha Hawk Mill Farm is near Little Wilbraham, about four miles east of Cambridge.

Watch all the latest harvest videos in this playlist.