Farmer Focus: Selective desiccation brings forward harvest

This year continues to surprise us, the latest being our earliest start to harvest yet.

Winter barley harvest started on 15 July, which was unexpected as crops were maturing very unevenly.

Good weather and some selective desiccation has certainly brought forward our average start date. The barley looks to be doing 6.5-7.5t/ha, which seems to be on par with other reports for this year.

See also: Harvest 2018: Barley yields better than feared

The jury is still out with the six-row barley, as once again we seem to have small grains with a low kg/hl. However, it definitely seems to suit the heavier land better and came through the winter with greater tiller survival.

Variable maps

The oilseed rape has now been desiccated for 10 days, although some areas have not required any desiccation.

The crop on the whole still looks to have potential and the oilseed rape harvest should follow the barley.

The recent dry conditions have really shown up the lighter soil types around the farm. This could have been a good opportunity to map wheat with a drone in early signs of drought stress to help generate a variable soil type map. Maybe Google Maps have done it for us.

The grass is now burning up, leaving the ewes running short. We have also now sold more than 1,000 fat lambs and although lamb sales are down to the same point last year, the average price a head is definitely higher.

I took a trip to the Groundswell event at the end of June and found the show very interesting. The event is very well organised and there is a seminar topic to suit any interest.

It highlighted to me that there are a lot of farmers out there really pushing the boundaries with crop production management. The take-home message for me was “how do you know it won’t work unless you try it on your farm?” 

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