Farmer Focus: Disappointingly green spring oats ends harvest

You very easily go from being weeks ahead back to where you normally would be for the time of year.

In the past month we have had two first-time experiences of problems that are more common in the east of the country; fly-tipping and cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB).

The open gate into a harvested field, just off the main road, made it too easy for the perpetrator to pull in, chuck off their contents and drive off, leaving us to deal with the mess.

See also: Read more from our arable Farmer Focus writers

This is the first time I have experienced this in Herefordshire and I hope it is not something I will see again.

Our other first, CSFB, has really made itself known this year. Our slightly delayed drilling this year – more luck than judgement – has helped save the crop from complete destruction, but it has been endless monitoring and worry.

We have had to apply one insecticide so far. A further 22ha will require a follow-up treatment, then hopefully the crop will be safe.

Disappointing oats

Harvest did finally come to an end on 19 September after cutting some very green spring oats.

As predicted, these did not perform very well, but even more disappointingly than predicted, they only averaged 3.5t/ha with no weight in the grain.

Unfortunately this will make the shortfall in the contract even greater and will leave a slightly disappointing tone on what has been an otherwise good harvest.

Cereal drilling is now in full flow and a good fortnight should see us get things into a corner.

The 28 September issue of Farmers Weekly talks about farmers’ work-life balance, which is something I have been thinking about for a while.

I admire those farmers who claim to have that balance. Iit’s something I haven’t quite got cracked yet, but am hopefully getting better at.

An interest off the farm I think is very important and promoting a good work-life balance is needed to attract new entrants into the industry.