Farmer Focus Arable: David Shepherdson has mixed harvest results

We have finally got into harvest and it’s been a very stop-start affair so far, snatching moments between the showers.

Pearl winter barley was first through the combine, producing a disappointing 5t/ha, a sample that was high in nitrogen and not particularly bold. Thankfully, the price of feed barley has risen so some at least has gone for feed to free up space in the shed.

Next came the oilseed rape, which produced variable yields of anything from 2.5 to 3.8t/ha. This could be partly due to seed variety but I think more to do with soil type.

Tipple spring barley came in at a more pleasing 6.75t/ha and produced a much better sample than the Pearl. We cut it slightly wetter than we would have liked, but the straw was breaking down so we scooped it up before any more rain knocked it closer to the floor.

The combine has now had a clean down and is ready to move into the wheat as soon as the showers allow. As I write, I’ve just tested it at 19% so some patience is required. Soon it will be time to start again, with oilseed rape drilling. Some thin land will be cultivated with a set of discs, with Cambridge rollers pulled behind. Better land will be ploughed, and all land will be drilled with the combination drill.

Meanwhile, we were offered a contract to grow malting barley, so with a price of £15/t over next November’s wheat price, we’ve opted to give it another go.

• For more columns from David Shepherdson
• For more columns from other Arable Farmer Focus writers

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