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Over the Hedge - Arable Barometer farmers' diary

Perfect drilling conditions prompt late surge in winter wheat plantings



Perfect ground conditions are prompting south-west barometer Troy Stuart’s contractor clients to continue to drill more wheat.

“We’ve finished the home farm drilling but we’re still contract drilling.”

More and more wheat was going in the ground, with growers ploughing up set-aside and pasture to drill the crop, he reported.

“Conditions are perfect – it has been a very kind autumn, which has made up a bit for the summer. There was a bit of rain last week that slowed us down, but we’ve now had 10 days of dry and it is ideal.”

Forage maize harvesting was nearly completed, he said, while he had also made a start on grain maize harvesting on lighter land. “Yields are above average so far. We’d budget on 3t/acre dry weight, but the first block did over 3.6t/acre, so we’re pretty pleased.”

So far, around 92 ha (230 acres) of grain maize had been cut, with a further 200ha (500 acres) left to do. “Some of the other heavier ground is still a fair way off – it held on longer.”

Autumn spraying was up to date, he reported, with both pre- and post-emergence sprays applied to crops in some instances.

Slugs remained a problem on some fields, but he was now patch spreading slug pellets rather than doing whole fields. “We’re fire-fighting patches, but I’m hoping we got the worst over earlier.”

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kansasfarmer said:

I am curious as to what moisture the corn was being brought in at.  I am also curious as the the maturity(day length or GDUs) the varieties being harvested are. What about the population, row width and fertilizer applied?  

There is still quite a bit of wheat left to be drilled here if the pile of seed wheat in our local elevator is any indication.  Ideally I would like to have all mine in by November 1, but it seems that will not be possible this year.  I have heard stories from year to year about people having the best wheat crop ever that was planted around Christmas,but I think that is the exception rather than the rule.  With our late freeze ruining much of our wheat last year, many of us now are just as wary of planting too early as too late.

October 25, 2007 3:47 AM [Delete]

Mike Abram - Arable Deputy Editor said:

Troy tells me the moisture was 32%. Apparently it is hard to get it much drier than that where he is, although occasionally it has been down to 28-29%.

I'll see if I can get Troy to answer your other questions directly.

Driving around in East Anglia today there was a lot of drilling going on. Conditions as Troy says above are just about perfect at the moment, so I suspect some of the crops going in now, could match, or even better earlier drilled crops that went into pretty dry seed-beds.

So I think it is possible for later drilled crops to yield higher than earlier drilled ones.

Having said that on the whole over here yields drop off the later you drill, but it is still pretty safe to plant winter wheat until end of Jan, depending on variety. Some good late drillers, such as Xi19, do tend to have some spring parentage though.

October 25, 2007 4:36 PM [Delete]
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