Farmer Focus: Richard Beachell says sunshine’s the best drier

A spell of settled weather came at the right time to enable wheat harvest to be completed with only a few minor hiccups. Sunshine has been the best grain drier and moisture contents have mostly been about 16%.

We’ve been fortunate to have had an early and dry harvest to test our new system as we move from on-farm to off-farm drying.

Wheat yields have vastly exceeded our expectations. Cordiale was ready to harvest straight after the oilseed rape was in the barn. It was all second crop and yielded 15% above our estimate. Quality is good, although proteins have been diluted by the higher yield.

We then moved into Oakley and discovered this is a variety that can certainly deliver fantastic yields. They are 25% above budget, which will go some way towards compensating for prices being on the floor.

A regular supply of lorries from Gleadell has been required to take the grain away to be dealt with at the firm’s Immingham drying plant; but a good proportion has been tipped straight on to the shed floor without needing to be dried.

We’ve had to adopt a different mindset now that the grain is taken off farm at harvest. But it’s clear that our ancient grain driers are too inefficient to deal with the high tonnages the farm now produces.

As proved by the small amount of wheat that we have dried this year, the elevators cannot take the grain away fast enough and this is when breakages occur.

My landlord and I have agreed that the cost of erecting a new modern system is too great for the time being, so we have discussed some adjustment on the rent side to account for this.

What a contrast to last harvest – proof that sunshine is king.

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