Dry weather benefited Gloucestershire crops

Gloucestershire farmer Richard Ward said his crops had received “a lot of useful sunlight energy to boost grain fill” at Home Farm. Having been “exceptionally pleased” with Saffron winter barley the last time he spoke to FWi, he said he has been “very busy” since then.

“We’ve completed all the barley, peas, oilseed rape and oats, with only 52ha wheat remaining.”

Twenty hectares of Sioux peas had suffered badly in the drought, yielding “a little disappointing” at 2.5t/ha. But he was “very pleased” with Hendon naked oats which yielded 5.6 – 6.25t/ha.

Astrid oilseed rape was “exceptionally dry” at 4.2 – 6.4% moisture, and he was relatively pleased with yields of 3.75t/ha. “It will have to be blended with wetter stuff. I wonder what it would have yielded if the moisture was at 9%.”

Mr Ward had completed 52ha of second wheat Sokrates, which yielded 8.75t/ha, and 16ha of Robigus which came in at 9t/ha. He had just started cutting first week Alchemy with estimated yields of 10t/ha. “The Robigus and Sokrates were well fit to be cut, but the Alchemy is hardly fit now.”

He added: “It is extraordinary. We haven’t usually started cutting wheat until 10 August, but here we are 31 July with only 52ha left to do.”

He suggested new variety Alchemy was higher yielding as it “naturally matures later and stays greener for longer”. As seed growers he said this meant farmers were asking him for it before it had been harvested. But he suggested it was likely to have been affected by the dry weather due to its low biomass.

“Across the board, taller strawed varieties of any crops do better in drier years.”

• Crop/Variety: Sioux peas
• Area: 20ha
• Yield: 2.5t/ha

• Crop/Variety: Hendon naked oats
• Yield: 5.6 – 6.25t/ha

• Crop/ Variety: Sokrates winter wheat
• Area: 52ha
• Yield 8.75t/ha

• Crop/Variety: Robigus winter wheat
• Area: 16ha
• Yield: 9t/ha

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