It's often said that farmers make cropping decisions based on what worked well for them the previous year, rather than taking a longer-term view. This season will be the exception and most growers would like to remove 2012 from their five-year average, so I am glad to see that few are making any "knee-jerk decisions".
As well as growing a range of combinable crops and in the case of wheat, having five soft varieties, we also had an extended wheat drilling season last year stretching just over four months. Yields from Invicta sown on 13 September 2011 were similar to those achieved by Wizard sown on 16 January 2012, but the real difference came in specific weights - with Wizard at 79 kg/hl while Invicta had our lowest figure of 69.5 kg/hl.
The highest yields came from Istabraq drilled mid-December after sugar beet. However, I haven't forgotten the poor results we have had from late-drilled wheats in the two previous dry summers. So we are pressing on with drilling and hope to complete as much as possible in the next two weeks. We have cut back on Invicta for 2013, given Target another chance and added in Horatio alongside the stalwarts of Consort, Wizard and Istabraq.
If harvest has been drawn out, then marketing the crop is certainly going to be. For Group 3s and 4s, it has ranged from a deduction of £66/t for some 55kg/hl Duxford to a premium of £34 for some full spec Consort. It's really going to be a case of knowing what you have got in the store and then sending it to the right home. Hauliers are already telling me that rejections are running at record levels.
A text just received has requested my presence on Saturday afternoon in the front row for the commencement of season no 40, any forays onto the rugby pitch will be preceeded by a trip to see the physio first!
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