Farmer Focus: BYDV-tolerant barley looks appealing

We have certainly had a month of rollercoaster weather. We have been lucky and not experienced the volume that others have, but it has been enough to make some crops want to take a lie down.

Hopefully it has come soon enough to add some yield to crops that had been struggling.

Thoughts must go to anyone who has experienced the incredibly high rainfall in recent weeks; it’s hard to imagine amounts like 200mm falling in the space of five days.

See also: How OSR growers will benefit from genome-wide breeding

Cereals was an experience this year – as a show it has definitely gone downhill in the past few years, but it was still a useful and enjoyable couple of days to catch up with people and get some new ideas.

Lowering risk

T3s are all completed, so the gate can now be shut on the winter wheat until the combine comes out of hibernation.

Heavy land crops look very well, but crops on the lighter land had started to struggle and the recent rain has probably come too late to help them fully recover.

On the whole, I’m hopeful for a reasonable harvest crop wise.

Cropping plans for next year are slowly being made, but I’m trying to keep them as flexible as possible until the last minute.

Late drilling has given fantastic blackgrass control results in the past few years, but we have been lucky to push drilling as late as we have and I want to try to reduce some of this risk.

I’m fairly certain winter barley will feature next year in the form of the new Amistar or Rafaela varieties – they might not be on the Recommended List, but their barley yellow dwarf virus tolerance is appealing.

I want to avoid spraying insecticides as much as possible, and hopefully using one of these varieties will help to achieve this.

Oilseed rape is still just about on the table – the final decision won’t be made until the combine has left the field and I can see the ground conditions and weather forecast. Whether the latter will be of any use is up for discussion.

The alternative will be more winter beans, or possibly some winter linseed to try to find an alternative break crop.