‘Consistent’ despite the showers

For Troy Stuart, working from Hill Barton Business Park, Clyst St Mary in Devon, harvest has gone well despite showers.

“It’s going pretty much according to plan –– if anything we’re slightly ahead.”

With just 10% of his 150ha (370 acres) of winter oilseed rape left to cut, yields were good.

“The lowest was Trabant at 1.47t/acre off some quite poor small fields, and the best was some Astrid at 1.75. Excalibur did 1.63. The surprising thing is how consistent it’s all been.

“I should think we’ll average 1.6-1.7 –dried. We have done over 2t/acre before, but we’re no longer on virgin oilseed rape land which I think must make a difference.”

Moistures were initially high in the undesiccated crops, hitting 18% after rain and reflecting the damp summer which encouraged weeds.

Keith Pinsent & Troy Stuart 2

Next would be 65ha (161 acres) of SW Dalguise winter oats 30-40% lodged, as was plenty of his wheat.

“It looks as though we’ve done the easy bit,“ he said.

All the rape was sold for October/November averaging £174/t. “I’m happy with that, though I know I might have got £180.”

Four wheat parcels were already sold, the “weather market” generating £130/t for one. “Each time we got to what I thought was the top it went on up!”

He was thankful not to have winter barley. “Most of it’s been cut down here, and there have been some disastrous yields after drought on the sandy soils. The rain came too late.”

BAROMETERS IN BRIEF

South

  • Having been rained off twice since starting combining on Friday, only a few days later than normal, Nigel Horne hoped to wrap up 90ha (222 acres) of desiccated oilseed rape, all Lioness, by mid-week before tackling Sequel winter barley. “It’s doing 3.5-4t/ha, which is good for us. Our average is about 3.5. It always looked good.”

    Initial moisture of 13% had fallen to 9% by Monday.

East

  • After disappointment with first oilseed rape yields (Arable, 27 July), John Barrett found his later sowings more encouraging. “Some later-drilled crops that established well in the autumn are doing much better.”

    He expected to finish mid-week, but wheat and spring barley would not be quite ready to follow.

West

  • For Richard Solari the impact of 90mm (3.5in) of rain since starting on winter barley on 17 July was hard. His first-ever oilseed rape was fit but mostly unreachable.

    A weekend cut of 28ha (70 acres) of Expert off relatively poor land delivered a satisfactory 3.7t/ha (1.5t/acre) at 7% moisture.

    “But we’ve tried three fields since then and kept getting the combine stuck. It’s incredibly frustrating. It will be five or six days before we can get to it.”

Midlands

  • After a hesitant start and having to tow out a stuck combine, Ben Atkinson said oilseed rape was delivering as hoped, with Kalif and hybrid Excalibur giving up to 4.6t/ha (37cwt/acre), despite weather damage.

    “We threw everything at the crop, and I would have been disappointed if it hadn’t done well. I hope we’ll average over 30cwt/acre.”

    Given the forecast he expected to finish 730ha (1800 acres) this weekend, everything going directly to ADM’s Kent store. “I don’t think there’ll be much of a gap before we’re into wheat.”

North

A good run at winter barley, starting as last year on 23 July, saw Andrew Gloag’s 162ha (400 acres) all dried and in store by Sunday and the first 81ha (200 acres) of oilseed rape cut.

  • “Yields are as good as we’d expect. Siberia’s done 4.18t/acre, Saffron 3.7, and Carat up to 3.9 – all at 17% moisture.
  • “We’ve only done Castille rape so far, but I’m very pleased with it at 1.94t/acre at 10% moisture. We budget for 1.7.”

Scotland

  • John Hutcheson started combining on 24 July, the same date as last harvest, and hoped to finish 140ha (346 acres) of six-row winter barleys, mainly Sequel plus Amarena, by mid-week before moving into oilseed rape.

    “We’ve had a great spell with very low moistures and a yield of about 9.2t/ha.” That was 0.6t/ha (5cwt/acre) up on the farm’s average.

    Glyphosate desiccant had been especially effective. The only downside was the February price dropping £4/t.

N Ireland

  • James Wray had cleared his 28ha (70 acres) of Pearl winter barley, averaging an estimated 7.9t/ha (3.2t/acre) with all straw baled.

    “The moisture was 18-20%, so it took a bit of drying. If I’d known the weather was going to be so good I’d have waited. But when I saw what you were getting [in England] I was happy enough to go.”

    No wheat was desiccated so harvest was a good three weeks off.

andrew.blake@rbi.co.uk