Farmer Focus: Wheat done, just the OSR to go

I’ve just got off the combine to write this because the OSR is too dry to cut – 5.9% moisture – so we will start again in the morning when the weather is a bit more sensible, writes Keith Challen.


I wish I could say yields are amazing, but to be honest they look like being bang-on the farm’s average. Whether it’s lack of a winter, increasing amounts of verticillium wilt or prolonged flowering, something has robbed the oilseed rape yield as it looked better than average.


The barley is not much better with yet again average yield 
– but then that’s farming.


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What a contrast to last year. No drying, cultivations are going exceptionally well – in fact they are beginning to catch the combine up so I’d better pull my finger out.


A wise man once told me in farming a day in July is worth two in August and three in September and I can see what he meant; there will be nothing left to do at this rate.


We’ve had a couple of damp mornings and the combine header has been covered in little grey-and-black slugs. The little so-and-sos are out en masse so baiting points will soon want putting out.


The final load of the 2013 harvest wheat left this week, so a quick turnaround with the store is required. However, I had a quick look at the wheat this morning and it’s not ready to desiccate yet, let alone combine, so no panic required.


The new Case Quadtrac is proving a great purchase from Farmstar, it’s truly awesome pulling our recently built 10-leg subsoiler and trailed press combination at a decent depth and speed.


Hopefully we are addressing 
some slumping issues on our heavy clay soils. After two horrendous autumns, surely we are entitled to a normal autumn.


Now, if someone could just remind me what were they like..?



Keith Challen manages 800ha of heavy clay soils in the Vale of Belvoir, Leicestershire, for Belvoir Fruit Farms. Cropping includes wheat, oilseed rape and elderflowers. The farm is also home to the Belvoir Fruit Farms drinks business.