Farmer Focus: Combine races past the finish line

Believe it or not, the combine was finished here on 4 August, and it is now all washed off and ready to go to the shed for the winter. That’s absolutely amazing and a far cry from those cold, dark November days that I spent trying to harvest linseed in Northumberland many years ago.

Good luck to the rest of you still battling your way through it. Despite our early harvest, wheat has yielded exceptionally well and exceeded the five-year average while barley and OSR came in about average, so with only a couple of early morning loads to dry, things couldn’t have gone much better. The occasional call on the first-rate service from Claas kept the combine downtime from the odd breakdown to an absolute minimum, thanks to them for that and well done to the combining crew here for all their hard work.

It’s now on to helping with lifting the spuds and onions and spending a bit of time getting things ready for the following crop as we start our OSR sowing.

It’s best not to spoil this very positive story by mentioning the present price of anything – thank goodness for forward selling… The reservoir building is now well under way and conditions have been fairly good, with many dry days to dig out the clay and then a few downpours to make working the clay easier. This helps form the solid layer that will (hopefully) keep the water in and thankfully, as a result of the weekly fence check, there is no sign of my little newt pals on site.

We have managed to find one place on the farm free from these little chaps to start our most recent major soil-moving exercise, this is the construction site for the new AD plant.

There are more issues with officialdom here, though – this time it was about ensuring that any leak can be contained. It’s all highly commendable, but did it have to hold the project up for a lengthy eight months?

We also have some very interesting maize variety trials in the adjacent field just about to reach fruition.

Andrew Blenkiron manages the 4,400ha Euston Estate, south of Thetford. Principal farm enterprises are combinable and root crops, including sugar beet. In addition the estate supports let land, sheep, outdoor pigs, poultry, suckler cows, horses and stewardship.

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