Farmer Focus Arable: Dry weather saves harvest for Allan Chambers

As I write our cereal harvest is nearing completion.

Ten days ago it appeared lost, but a dramatic change in the weather has given everyone a lift. I hesitate to quote our yields, as many will not believe me, but I really don’t care, so here goes.

Quench spring barley weighed in at 8.9t/ha at 16% moisture. This was grown with 10t/ha of broiler litter ploughed in within an hour. CAN with sulphur was applied to the growing crop as soon as the tramlines were clearly visible. Two robust fungicides and a growth regulator were applied at T1 and T2. Seed rate was 125kg/ha with no notable difference in the yield from the experimental 4ha drilled at 80kg/ha.

Winter wheat average at the halfway stage was 11.26t/ha at 17% moisture.Alchemy has again produced the goods. The only disappointment is the value of the grain, so we plan to store where possible.

Straw trade is extremely buoyant, but we will only benefit marginally as our regular customers are only being charged £1 more for an 8x8x4 than last year. They all pay!

Autumn drilling will soon start with grass reseeds for haylage. Each year our old swards are allowed to build up during late summer and then grazed by our near neighbour’s NZ type yearling heifers – I admire Peter’s commitment to his milk production system and find that out-wintered livestock does no harm to our grass as he moves the fence daily. The cow manure is also an added benefit.

Thanks to all who have worked hard to help us save our crops and for putting up with my hourly change of mind.

Mistake of the month: Went to a young men’s stag do at a night spot, 20 miles from home. Was probably the soberest one there but managed to get left behind by my chaperones. I forgive them – but I won’t forget.

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