Farmer Focus: Impressive harvest draws to a close

Wow, what a harvest! Will I ever see one like it again? I sincerely hope so.

Yields of cereals on our drought-prone soils have been at least 25% above normal. Wheat has averaged 10t/ha. This includes a block of continuous wheat that only managed just over half that amount.

Our best-yielding field of wheat was Crusoe at 11.8t/ha. The soil is so stony there it always amazes me how anything ever manages to grow at all.

If the directors are reading this, then these wonderful yields are clearly down to my skills as an agronomist and our dedication in getting all the operations in our busy harvest time this summer completed on time.

However, I think the fact that we had rain at the right time, all the way through the season, is probably the real reason. Needless to say, we did not get it all in before the rain came again.

Well done to those of you who did, and heartfelt commiserations to those that did not, particularly our fellow farmers in the north of the UK who have had a torrid time with the rain.

Despite the showers slowing us down and having to use the dryer, the remaining part of harvest was a much easier crop to cut.

The straw was finally fit, as opposed to green straw with dry grain desiccated by the heat of the sun, which was the case earlier. Finally, on the subject of harvest, a few thank-you’s, especially to the team here at Dunsden Green for their hard work. Also to Farol, our local John Deere dealer, for its prompt and efficient service in keeping the combine running.

So, with just the spring beans to combine at the time of writing, thoughts now turn to next year. Not much change in the cropping, as we already have a diverse rotation. However, for one of our contract customers with 50ha of arable land, it is a completely different matter that is still not fully resolved – until now the land has been block cropped.

Don’t forget the Henley Show on Saturday, 13 September. This year’s display will be another unforgettable experience.

Simon Beddows manages 1,000ha of arable land at Dunsden Green, south Oxfordshire. Cropping is cereals, oilseed rape, beans and forage maize.

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