The Henley Show, possibly the best one-day agricultural show in the country, takes place on Saturday, 10 September. Several years ago, a group of like-minded farmers got together to help me devise a way to educate the public about where their food comes from.
What started as a one-off display for the Year of Food and Farming has now grown into one of the most popular marquees of the show. It’s very hands on, with things like milling wheat to make flour, baking biscuits and milking Delilah the wooden cow. If this could be repeated across the country at other agricultural shows it would be tremendous PR for the industry.
Harvest has been somewhat soggy since we started cutting wheat, with no two days the same and most of the crop having to go through the dryer. On 18 August, we had 67mm of rain, 59 of which fell in about two hours.
Phil Dyer, our part-time grain store man, has done a great job keeping things moving, especially now we have sorted out the dryer. Yields have been much better than I dared hope for after the spring drought. There are fewer, but much larger grains with thrashing being particularly easy.
So far, yields have ranged from 6.5t/ha to 11.1t/ha all over the weighbridge and corrected down to 14% moisture. The Aviator fungicide trial, as with the barley SDHIs, failed to match the farm standard and this was on some of our better ground. Our DK Cabernet oilseed rape, which was combined three weeks later than the ES Astrid, managed exactly the same yield at 4t/ha, while Tipple spring barley, which contained a lot of regrowth, averaged 6.5t/ha.
The new Kockerling drill has arrived and we have already drilled the first 50ha of oilseed rape, leaving a lovely looking seed-bed.
Simon Beddows manages 1,000ha of arable land at Dunsden Green, south Oxfordshire. Cropping is cereals, oilseed rape, beans and forage maize.