Farmer Focus: All drilled up in a kind open autumn

Autumn drilling is now complete and the kind autumn has rounded off what can be described as a near perfect harvesting and drilling season – one that was long overdue for this part of the country. The team have worked very hard and I am once again very grateful for all their efforts.

Winter beans have been the final crop to drill this autumn and with reasonable success with them last year, and the brilliant conditions they left to drill wheat into, they have featured again.

Drilling has gone well and into some very good seedbeds. This has been quite an achievement as we have managed to drill the whole area with one 3m drill.

We have also experienced some short spells of heavy rainfall. This has given plentiful moisture for pre-emergence herbicide to work effectively. Herbicides have been approached on a field-by-field basis and actives have been selected based on the field’s history.

See also: Cereal growers urged to push up seed rates this autumn

No soil erosion 

It was also encouraging to see no soil run off from any of our land after the heavy rain. Three years ago this could have been very different.

Our very early drilled wheat has required an insecticide treatment due to the Deter dressing running out and the high activity of aphids. With the ban on Deter dressing being enforced next year this activity could potentially become a more common practice – which is madness! 

We have also experienced a spot Countryside Stewardship inspection which seemed to go OK! Our mid-tier scheme was kept very simple and easy to manage to fit in with our farming system, so the inspection was quite straightforward.

It was also good to see a bit of joined-up thinking, as part of the inspection was to check our EFA areas.

The onset of winter is now upon us and the diary is quickly filling up with meetings. It will also hopefully provide time to analyse what has gone well and collate data. Lists are also being made of both theoretical and practical ideas of how we can make further efficiencies.