Paul Warburton farms
208ha (514 acres) of
mostly chalky loam at
North Farm, Shillingford
Hill, near Oxford. He is an
the business in partnership
with his wife Hilary.
Cropping includes feed
wheat, feed barley
and oilseed rape
BLOOD, tears, toil and sweat, particularly the latter two, dealing with a lodged crop of Chablis spring wheat. It is all go and has been for nearly a fortnight but our harvest should be finished by the time you read this.
Fortunately, we had nothing like the rain that the eastern counties have had to cope with. Looking out from our hill, which commands views to Swindon, the Chilterns, Oxford and Farringdon, no less than 19 combines could be seen last Saturday, veiling the county in a haze of harvest dust.
Regina winter barley yielded an acceptable 7.4 t/ha (3t/acre) with small baled straw adding £173/ha (£70/acre). Escort OSR did 3.7t/ha (30cwt/acre), Lutin, the semi-dwarf variety, as expected did about 3.1t/ha (25cwt/acre) but was easier to harvest. Claire wheat has come in very well at about 9.3t/ha (3.75t/acre) across the farm, despite weedy take-all patches in second wheats.
Rural crime paid us a visit last weekend. Uninvited guests broke into the workshop with bolt croppers and took the Honda quad bike, chainsaw and strimmer.
Fearing another visit, we are enhancing protections, all more expense on top of a nasty £500 excess on the bike.
Our local MF dealer, Walter Wilder, has vehicle "tracker" leaflets on the service counter. At £300/item, the cost is hard to stomach but at least one might have the satisfaction of finding ones trusty bike.
And what of the combine after last months mishap? Least said the better – new crank, repairs to the block, an estimated £4000 cost and no firm date to do the work.
Reluctantly I accepted the offer of a Mercedes reconditioned engine for £4500 plus fitting etc. My thanks to Jimmy and Nigel c/o Mill Engineers for their verbal anaesthetics and intensive after-care!
I hope you all have Sept 22 highlighted in your diaries and have made travel arrangements for the Countryside March in London. We must all be seen and counted. Thank you farmers weekly for your editorial support and leaflets. *
Harvest is home at North Farm for Paul Warburton with pleasing wheat results and not too bad barley.