30 August 1996

Winter wheat is safely in…

SINCE the last report from Easton Lodge the combine has plodded through the harvest. By Thur, Aug 22 we had finished cutting our 113ha (279 acres) of winter wheat and have cleaned both grain store and combine in readiness for linseed.

Our field estimates show a total wheat yield of 790t or 7t/ha (55.8 cwt/acre) which, if correct, compares favourably with last years actual yield of 7.06t/ha (56.3cwt/acre). When one considers that this was achieved with 139mm (5.5in) less rain during the growing season it helps put the performance into perspective.

The table showing the farms harvest performance to date also reveals the tremendous difference between the late-drilled Hereward, grown after sugar beet, and the September-drilled Brigadier and Ritmo. The Hereward represents 18.6% of the total wheat area and if removed from the figures would lift the feed wheat average yield to 7.4t/ha (59cwt/acre). Here, the drought bit hard reducing the yield to 5.1t/ha (60.6 cwt/acre) compared with 6.17t/ha (49.15 cwt/acre) last year. We have not yet tested for milling quality but are hopeful for a premium to lift the gross margin performance of this Cinderella enterprise.

Rates and dates

Both drilling rates and dates on the Hereward varied depending on when the field was released from sugar beet last year. The first 5.2ha (13 acres) was drilled at 100kg/ha on Nov 1, 1995 into ideal conditions and performed the best.

The second drilling of 9.8ha (24 acres) was sown on Dec 2 at 119kg/ha and the third, consisting of 6ha (15 acres), on Dec 21 at 200kg/ha. However, since there is always some doubt regarding the ideal seed rate in less than ideal conditions after sugar beet, we decided to experiment. Unfortunately the results shown in the table have not helped us in our deliberations since both the high and low seed rates would have appeared to out yield the intermediate rate of 472 seed/sq m. Establishment was good in all cases with the best yield produced by the lowest seed rate which, given the season, is hardly surprising.

In another year with more typical rainfall, however, the results would no doubt be different. It is important to stress that these are farmer-trials and not scientifically replicated, but designed to give an indication for future planning.

One piece of good news followed the movement of this years oilseed rape. The tonnage over the weighbridge was 60.86t giving us a total yield of 3.8t/ha (30.3 cwt/acre); our best performance ever. We await results for oil content etc. to assess the final return and gross margin.

On Monday morning Aug 19, NIAB came up trumps with our seed testing results. We had asked them to test for germination, Microdochium (fusarium) nivale and 1000-seed weight on five samples and Tilletia caries (bunt) on one.

Germination was good varying between 97% and 98% and 1000-eed weights between 39.679g and 47.2g. No seeds were found to have been infected with fusarium on any of the five samples and the Vivant, which was tested for bunt, showed zero spores.

On the back of these excellent results CYO Seeds (Midlands) from Lutterworth descended on us in the afternoon to clean and dress a total of 9t of seed. Vivant, Ritmo, Hunter and Consort have been chosen for early drilling after set-aside, peas, oilseed rape and linseed, and Hereward once again following sugar beet.

All seeds were cleaned over a 2.8mm sieve and gravity separated to improve the 1000 seed weight and produce the boldest sample available, which seems to have worked, since the samples tested again improved by an average of 7% over the screened samples tested by NIAB.

The first drilling of the autumn was 11.7ha (29 acres) of Apex oilseed rape on Tues, Aug 20 followed by 26.4ha (65 acres) of Vivant wheat on Aug 21 but more of this later.


Harvest round-up 1996

CropVarietyAreaYieldActual/

(ha)t/hacwt/acreEstimated

Perennial RyegrassBelramo13.151.411.0Est.

OS RapeNickel5.383.628.7Act.

OS RapeApex10.623.931.0Act.

TOTAL16.003.830.3Act.

PeasGrafila26.403.7529.9Est.

WheatVariety

Trials10.837.559.8Est.

WheatBrigadier59.947.5360.0Est

WheatRitmo21.277.055.8Est.

WheatHereward21.005.140.6Est.

TOTAL113.047.055.8Est.


Hereward seed rate trial

Date drilled Seed rate Yield

Seeds/sq mkg/hat/hacwt/acre

Dec 21, 953421455.3442.6

"4722004.6236.8

"6132605.140.6

John Knighton, head stockman at the Easton Lodge pig unit, has taken a busmans holiday to bale up more than 13,000 bales (260t) of wheat straw at Easton Lodge. It has been carted and stacked near the pig unit.