Philip Steans has finished harvesting oilseed rape at Wiltshire College’s Lackham Farm, Chippenham, and is now cutting wholecrop cereals.

“We had 30ha of Alienor and a little bit of Camelot, and it all yielded 3.75t/ha,” he said. Having started combining on 9 July, it was one of the earliest harvests he had known.

“The fact that Alienor has come off the field so early yet yielded so well is a winning combination as far as we are concerned,” said Mr Steans.

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“It means that workload is spread across the farm and there is more time to work the soil for the following wheat crop.

Crop facts

  • Crop: Oilseed rape
  • Variety: Alienor
  • Area: 30ha
  • Yield: 3.75t/ha

“Although this particular field doesn’t have black-grass, I can see that such an early harvest will allow cultivations and stale seedbeds to reduce weed populations,” he added.

Having only applied two fungicide treatments and minimal fertiliser, it was relatively cheap to grow, too.

“The crop looked really well through the winter and the green area index was very high, so we only applied 50kg/ha of nitrogen to 15ha and 70kg to the rest.”

After whole cropping some wheat and spring barley, Mr Steans expected to move into winter oats in about seven to 10 days time.

“The winter wheat and spring barley are about two weeks away from ripening and they don’t look too bad, although there are several areas of blackgrass in the wheat where the chemicals didn’t work over the winter,” he said.