Farmer Focus: Harvest 2022 finished in under a month

Harvest is complete less than a month after it started. My dry harvest insurance policy worked a treat, with my dryer finished and ready to go two days after finishing combining the wheat.

It has been an extraordinary year. Prolonged dry and warm weather brought numerous challenges.

See also: Video: Berkshire Farm Girl brings in the wheat harvest

About the author

Matt Redman
Farmer Focus writer
Matt Redman farms 370ha just north of Cambridge and operates a contracting business specialising in spraying and direct-drilling. He also grows cereals on a small area of tenancy land and was Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year in 2014.
Read more articles by Matt Redman

The risk of fires was huge, and continuous harvesting without the usual weather breaks added additional strains to labour and machinery.

Spring-drilled crops have not fared well. Both peas and beans were poor, receiving very little rain since drilling, followed by periods of over 30C heat.

Winter crops have been better, but very variable. Linseed was better than expected and wheat varied significantly depending on the variety.

Unfortunately, Skyfall failed to deliver, Extase was disappointing when compared with Spotlight and Gleam, which did very well.

There are some tough decisions on cropping and varieties to make for next year.

Personally, I had planned to give oilseed rape a miss for another year, but I am may be tempted if conditions are favourable in the first week of September.

The aim of most people drilling early to get it established prior to the bank holiday weekend was made impossible by the weather.

Winter linseed will stay and winter beans will make up the remainder of the break crops.

Wheat will all be feed, scaling back the Extase and growing more Gleam, Spotlight and some Dawsum and Skyscraper for the first time.

About a year ago, I commented in one of my articles that I needed to get a focus on all of the technology available, and make proper use of it.

A year on and despite my best efforts, I don’t think I am much closer to achieving that goal. I am using some tech and getting some useful information.

Both main tractors are fitted with telematics and it’s clear to see when drivers have lunch, or are waiting for the combine.

During the recent heatwaves there’s a chunk of idle time rather than engine-off time.

This has a huge, and scary, effect on productive engine hours – something that’s obvious, but easy to show and quantify with the telematics.

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