John Jeffrey runs two
tenanted farms in
partnership with his father
from Kersknowe, near Kelso
in the Scottish Borders.
Two-thirds of the 730ha
(1800 acres) is arable,
growing seed potatoes, oilseed rape, wheat and
winter and spring barley
INCREDIBLY, by the last day in August, we had started lifting potatoes and grain harvest was almost a thing of the past with only 50ha (120 acres) of wheat left to combine. Also, all next years oilseed rape is already through the ground.
Not only is it this early but after the wettest summer on record the grain has never been drier. A nearby farmer who is on his third harvest since leaving college says it is the first time he has ever combined wheat below 20% moisture!
Harvest has been a joy provided you forget about the end price. Quality of the wheat will not be known until after I dry and dress it, which should help to increase protein and specific weights. Chariot malting barley was all under 1.5% nitrogen with acceptable screenings but Optic has nitrogens all over the place and I darent mention the levels of screenings. Oilseed rape amazed us by yielding as well as it looked, averaging over 3.7t/ha (1.5t/acre).
My combine driving continues to be a source of great amusement to my neighbours as two phone calls illustrate. The first came as I failed to climb a steep hill, prompting howls of laughter and expletives down the line; what a useless combine I had bought if it couldnt even manage such a gentle slope.
Two hours later, as I groveled in the guts of the combine having blocked it up good and proper, my mobile rang again. This time I didnt give them the pleasure of answering it as I could see who was calling.
But revenge is sweet and came sooner than I could have hoped for. The very next day I was chuckling as I watched them pulling their combine out of a wet hole with a hired winch. As the saying goes "he who laughs last laughs loudest". Unfortunately, that will still be them, as I have managed to wrap a divider around a gate post and redesigned the back-end of the combine, not that theyve noticed yet. *
Grain has never been drier, says John Jeffrey, following better weather in the Borders.