Direct-drilled rape proves a performer

Harvest is well under way now and we have experienced 34C temperatures, barley at 10.5% moisture and rape down as low as 6%.

It seems nature corrected itself after the spring drought with persistent rain. It finally turned dry for a week, but has swung back the other way again now.

Feed barley yielded at 8.5t/ha which, considering the year and the fact we lost so much weight from the very dry sample, isn’t bad. It also suggests under different circumstances the Cassia would have yielded very well. I replaced my light land second wheat with feed barley and will continue with this policy.

Rape yields have been varied with Vision yielding 3.8t/ha and Sesame performing some bit better at 4.5t/ha. Reasons for this are not clear at the moment, but the Sesame was direct-drilled and does have less verticullum wilt than the Vision. We have just started some DK Cabernet which looks. We will see when this latest batch of annoying showers goes away.

Wheat is suffering with disease and there is evidence of blind grain sights, which will hit yield. What had the potential to be a record harvest will hopefully still be pretty good, although quality could suffer.

I read the other day about a group of farmers who would like limited stubble burning reintroduced. What a great idea – help control blackgrass and perhaps involve the local hoodies to let them vent their anger on straw rather than everyone else

Richard Cobbald is farm manager for West Wratting Park Estate near Cambridge. The 1,300ha of heavy soils grow wheat, oilseed rape, sugar beet and spring barley

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