Farmer Focus Arable: Richard Cobbald revels in harvest team effort

Harvest is well under way on the estate and a large chunk of the oilseed rape has been cut. The low spring rainfall affected the crops, but most are still pushing 3.75t/ha.

The new variety, Vision, is pushing close to 5t/ha. Seed will be saved and grown next year along with DK Cabernet, which despite the late-flowering frost problems, has yielded well.

We tried Nitouche peas this year, and the crop looked superb all spring, but a yield of marginally over 2.6t/ha was a huge disappointment. The pods just did not fill. I think there was more straw for the neighbour’s cows to eat than peas, but I will persevere next year as they add to our spring cropping in the ever harder war on blackgrass. Along with, hopefully, more sugar beet tonnage, we should be well equipped for that task.

The Simba Solo cultivator is pushing on hard behind the harvest gang, but the metal is just disappearing by the day. The recent rainfall has made the top few inches wet so the discs are doing a good job, but the deep legs are in dry soil and are expensive to keep changing.

The best part of harvest is the team spirit. We have a great team here and we have a laugh, but any more midnight finishes and tempers will become a bit frayed. We always have a beer together and give them a pizza each for dinner. It’s like an animal feeding frenzy.

They work hard and I am always thankful for their efforts, even if the Irish lad wears football shirts and talks constantly about Thierry Henry. I’m no football fan, but apparently he is renowned for his handling skills in Ireland. I’m sure the South African contingent understands, since football is now their national sport.

• For more columns from Richard Cobbald

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