In our fourth and final article providing pointers towards more profitable wheat production, Rob Ding, an independent agronomist for farm management consultant Aubourn, considers harvest.
• Make a final in-crop assessment of the successes/failures with crop inputs/management. Produce weed maps as needed.
• Where in-crop OSR establishment is to be used, plan system of applying OSR seed and immediate post-harvest management.
• If aiming for direct drill/in-crop establishment, plan for minimum soil damage. Consider low ground pressure tyres, optimise tyre pressures, keep traffic to tramlines.
• Review straw management to ensure chop and spread is good and even where needed.
• Combine quality wheats first – use glyphosate if Hagberg can be a problem.
• Consider using glyphosate to provide an early bite on a third of total crop area, where in-crop/Autocast OSR establishment is planned, to protect quality on group 1 and 2 wheats, and on any sprouting-prone varieties.
• Ensure early maturing varieties are closely monitored. Dessicant timing can often be too late to help. Aim for 30% moisture or when grain will hold thumb nail impression. Remember not to dessicate seed crops.
• Take advantage of any early markets direct off combine where quality premiums available.
• Ensure in-store management of premium wheats is good, keep separate, monitor moisture, temperature and pest control.