Farmer Focus: Daffodil bulb harvest looks promising

Our attention is currently dominated by daffodil bulb harvesting. Our lift this year is much better than last season, which was impacted by two poor growing seasons.

This time, things are looking much more promising, although the bulbs we are lifting now have looked good right through the 20 months or so that they have been in the ground.

Having said all that, I suspect the dry April and May we experienced will take the edge off the final lift tonnage.

See also: Harvest 2020: Oxford rapeseed grower pleased with 3.5t/ha yield

It always amazes me how much weight a good crop of bulbs can pile on in the period between the end of flower harvest (normally early April) and lifting (end of June), given the right growing conditions.

As usual, we had our annual redesign of our bulb-cleaning system in an attempt to separate a bit more of the field from the bulbs mechanically.

Some years we make big improvements, while others it’s debatable whether we make any.

It is however, not the easiest thing to separate the bulbs from the soil when the fields have been walked all over by a mass of flower pickers in February and March when it’s generally pretty wet.

Our grading staff arrived safely from Bulgaria, having been booked a long time ago. We have so far managed to safely negotiate all the additional hurdles in place this year. I hope this continues to remain the case.

The other additions to the team for harvest this year are youngest son William, back from New Zealand earlier in the spring and Freya, who is part way through an agriculture degree at university. A complete team for now.

The next challenge is to complete the new grain storage building in time for harvest. This is being erected to service our largest contract farming agreement.

It is designed to replace some fairly antiquated stores that struggled to meet the farm-assurance requirements that required a considerable amount of re-handling of grain. All I need to do now is find the efficiencies so it pays for itself. No pressure!