A late harvest for Jon Parker

I have never known a harvest to start so late in all the time that I have been involved in farming. The last of the oilseed rape has only just been desiccated, so we are looking at mid-August before rape harvest is finished.

Soil conditions are a big concern given that the sprayer was sinking in if you strayed off the hard tramline. Again we have hired in trailers with large flotation tyres to get the grain off the fields. Choice of cultivation method will be decided once harvest has started. Both the Simba SLD and Dowdeswell plough are ready to go.

When wheat moisture is below 30% we will be applying glyphosate certainly on all the milling wheat and on the feed wheat if the brown rust hasn’t killed it first. The thought process behind this is, hopefully, to prevent any sprouting in the ear, but also to speed up an already late harvest.

Blackgrass samples have been taken so further resistance tests can be carried out. Results from previous years have showed resistance to Atlantis (iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron) in some but not all fields. This places a huge reliance on the pre-emergence chemicals, and after looking at various blackgrass trial sites recently, the mixes are only going to get bigger. I would like to think there will be enough moisture to get good stale seed-beds this year which will be vital.

On a final note, I wish to congratulate my wife who has just completed the Three Peaks Challenge. In 24 hours, along with 24 others, she climbed Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon, in what she described as quite damp conditions, for the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine’s Clinical Unit based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham to directly support the military personnel and their families. To date they have raised well over £10,000.

Jon Parker manages 1,500ha, near Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, on a medium to heavy land, for Ragley Home Farms, predominantly arable growing wheat, oilseed rape, and salad onions. There is also a beef fattening unit and sheep flock.

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