Farmer Focus: Growing a new milling wheat/bean blend

I’m not sure how many faiths are covered by the farmers of Suffolk, but I am pretty certain that those of us who started sowing autumn crops early this year are thanking some deity or other for making that decision.

We had 95% of our spelt and wheat in the ground before the heavens opened on September 23 and it’s a pleasure to see the green rows rather than the bare fields of 2019 at a similar time of year. 

See also: How in-depth testing helps Yorks farmer crop variable soils

We’ve also been able to make a start on sowing our milling wheat/bean blend, and at the time of writing we have only a couple of days left and then the drilling door will be shut for the winter. 

As I alluded to in my August article, over the years growing beans on their own organically has proved to be too much of a risk, and a blend offers the chance of one crop doing well if the other fails.

In the past, we have grown oats with beans, oats with buckwheat, and peas with barley, so the milling wheat/bean blend is new to us. 

Our sowing rate is 260kg/ha with the wheat, and beans at 70% of their normal rate. We have used our own bean seed which was sent off to Walnes Seeds. They mixed the two milling varieties Illustrious and Zyatt with our cleaned beans, returning the blended seed to us. 

There is an extra cost involved in the bending and the post-harvest separation but I am hoping that the extra expense will be negated by a more stable yield.

Research also suggests that there could be protein transferred from the beans to the wheat, giving the potential of a milling premium.

What is there to lose?

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