Both rabbits and pigeons feast on oilseed rape

Harvest finally came to its miserable conclusion on 22 September. Even the spring bean crop proved difficult, with areas of bindweed being almost impossible to cut – it yielded 4.4t/ha. In contrast, spring oats – some of which were completely flat – yielded an amazing 7.4t/ha with a specific weight of 55kg/hl.

The header on the new John Deere combine has done a great job of dealing with the laid crops with so little damage and wear to the skids. My thoughts go out to those who are still struggling and to farmers who have ended up, after a challenging harvest, with dreadful yields of a very poor quality.

A difficult and late harvest always has a knock-on effect on the following year’s crops, as cultivations are delayed. We also lost a week when Ian had to be redeployed from cultivator to grain cart when Phil damaged his knee and was unable to drive.

The ideal approach is to get more than one application of glyphosate on the stale seed-beds, but it has been almost impossible this year. Still, drilling is underway between the showers and next year’s harvest surely can’t be as bad!

You just know it’s going to be a long winter when both rabbits and pigeons are after the rape in early September. We have a comprehensive control programme in place, but both pests seem to be about in much greater numbers this year. Monitoring has shown there are over 1,000 pigeons a day flying onto the estate.

Henley Show this year was a triumph, in particular the growing a crop of wheat demonstration that took place in the main ring. Well done to the local farms that brought in their machinery. There was £1m-worth of modern kit in the ring, plus its vintage counterparts.

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