Farmer Focus: Huge 90% of crops had to be dried this season

Harvest finished on 21 September. It was without doubt a career low in terms of yield. There has been no fun in driving the combine this year at all.

A particular low point was harvesting some beans at 600kg/ha – exactly double their seed rate. Thankfully, it wasn’t a big area. And just to add insult to injury, 90% of the crops had to be dried. This is the most we have dried for a number of years and it certainly will not help profitability.

On a more positive note, all the machinery has gone well. Our Case Axial-Flow combine never missed a beat and the Quadtrac has just about finished cultivations without a single problem.

See also: How to assess wheat yield potential in-season

We operate a 12m Farmet Fantom for all our cultivations and it still amazes me how well it works in both primary and secondary land work.

It Is just completing its fifth season without us needing any other equipment to get from stubble to seed-bed.

We did have one small failure this year, when a stub axle sheared off a packer, but thankfully the brilliant team at J Brock and sons had us back up and running in just a few hours. Thanks guys, it was very much appreciated.

Hybrid winter barley was drilled in early September on blackgrass-free land, and is now up and in row and looking good. The recent spell of good weather increased aphid numbers, so we just applied a barley yellow dwarf virus spray and a trace element mix just to keep it healthy.

The Challen household is about to become very quiet as our son departs for university. It is the first time in 25 years it’s been just the two of us – my poor wife.

Finally, I would like to thank For Farmers for giving my daughter a year’s work placement before returning to university to complete her degree next week.

The whole experience has been wonderful for her and a real insight into the industry. She’s loved every minute. Their friendly approach and professionally run business has given her a skill set that will serve her well in life.

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