Farmer Focus: Richard Cobbald gets oilseed rape off to a good start

What a summer – or should I say lack of it? Gone are the heady days at the end of July and early August when we basked in sunshine and combined a crop, oilseed rape, that didn’t need drying. Given reasonable yields the biggest decision to make was what time to take the guys a beer and maybe some food.

Talking of beer, Tipple spring barley leaving the farm of late appears to have just about hung onto its germination. So it’s destined to contribute to our boozy society as well as bringing in probably the best margin of all crops.

However, I can’t yet benchmark it against wheat because 81ha (200 acres) of that crop still stand proud as I write, much to our gamekeeper’s dismay. Fire up the old drier again and burn some more diesel, what harm can it do?

The rain has done a wonderful job of getting our rape crops up and running, but there seems to have been disturbingly little slug activity which makes me nervous. Are the pests lurking in the depths ready to strike, or are they being very astute and just sheltering to avoid being washed away by our land drains?

Still, we will eventually complete harvest – and yields have been very good. So we shouldn’t moan/joke about our “beautiful” summer. Let’s just hope mycotoxins don’t come along and take the gloss off these sheds full of wheat.

At the risk of being branded sarcastic I can’t really imagine end users will be looking for claims on high priced contracts especially now the price is somewhat lower – will they?

Finally, I must record a note of recognition to all the guys who have worked very long hours this summer without so much as a whinge. What a top bunch of people.

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