Combine at a standstill in Oxon

Harvest has ground to a standstill at Manor Farm, Marcham, Oxfordshire, as William Cumber has not got anything ready to cut yet.

“We’ve done everything that’s fit, and it’s drizzling now,” he said. “We’ve cut three bits of Cordiale winter wheat and the rest was at 17.5% moisture all day yesterday, so it should be ready when the weather clears up.”

Wheat yields had been wildly variable depending on soil type, with Gallant having died off on the light land, said Mr Cumber.

“The combine meter was ranging between 4t/ha and 8t/ha – it probably averaged 6t/ha. But on good, moisture-retentive land it did over 9t/ha.”

See also: Top tips to help growers maximise stale seedbeds.

Many fields or parts of fields had flooded badly over the winter, and Mr Cumber had abandoned 16ha of the 160ha of winter wheat.

“We redrilled 6ha of that with spring oilseed rape, but then had to write that off too, due to a combination of flea beetle and blackgrass. We had two lots of seed costs and no gross margin to show for it.”

Almost every field had bare patches from standing water over the winter, which would drag average yields down, added Mr Cumber.

“It’s not going to be a record harvest. But we’ve got spring barley as well as Scout and Cordiale wheat to cut – and the Scout looks really well.

“We drilled it thicker than normal due to blackgrass issues and it’s looking very promising.

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