Farmer Focus: Bean breeders are failing our industry

As I write, we still have eight days left of harvesting, but the combine is currently in the shed owing to 50mm of rain over the weekend.

Harvest of winter wheat and beans is now complete, but I still have some spring barley, oats and triticale in the field and in need of cutting.

With the current forecast still predicting thunderstorms for our area, my only concern is for the spring barley, as it can brackle under wet and windy conditions, making the loss of heads a possibility. So that is where my focus will be once we get going again.

See also: Take part in NFU harvest survey after challenging season

Yields have been average or slightly below average, which is a relief after the bizarre year we have experienced weather-wise. I’m pleased that it looks as if harvest 2020 is not going to be a complete disaster, apart from one crop – winter beans.

To be fair, the beans were mauled into less-than-perfect seed-beds last November, but this is the second year in a row that they have yielded less than 1t/ha.

Despite the winter crop allowing us to grow an additional spring cereal in the rotation, the deluge of weeds after them and the consistently poor returns, we decided we won’t be growing them as a single crop in the future. Bi-cropping is the only option if we are to continue to grow them.

But that’s if we can get any seed. Initial enquires indicate that there is no organic seed available and sellers of non-organic seed are not releasing prices or quantities, as even the chemical junkies have failed to keep their crops clean and have had an equally poor harvest.

Our bean breeders are failing our industry, miserably. You can hardly blame the animal feed industry for building relationships with soya importers when we are incapable of delivering home grown protein. PGRO?

NOVEMBER
3

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