Farmer Focus: Maize and root crops look full of potential

Despite my dire predictions of a poor August in which to complete cereal harvest, we were actually finished by mid-month, with the wheat yielding considerably better than anticipated during the drought months of May and June. 

It is rather a shame such a good wheat harvest was spoiled when we were let down, yet again, by the guy who just keeps on promising that his baler will arrive on one of our muck for straw deals.

I’m afraid that is really his last chance, the concrete anaerobic digestate cow can have his share next harvest.

See also: Read more from our Arable Farmer Focus writers

Conditions have been ideal for forage maize and roots, plenty of rain, good sunshine and warm soils, have ensured the maize in particular looks like a bumper crop, at this stage it seems to be ripening very quickly, all things being equal harvest of that should commence quite soon.

With potatoes and onions lifting well there is plenty going on here. Sugar beet will, obviously, be more dependent on the amount of water that it receives over the next couple of months, but given that we tend to hold this crop in the ground for a few months, it has plenty of time to maximise its potential.

Next year’s cropping

As always we need to be looking forward, with next year’s seed being ready to plant, we are again focusing on milling wheat and hybrid barley for our cereals.

They have given us consistent results for many years now, our only real failure being the last few trailer loads of milling wheat harvested this year with poor Hagbergs, no doubt a result of the catchy weather during early August.

Getting through harvest and moving into planting allows thoughts to turn to wider issues. Within the next couple of weeks, we will have the pleasure of one of our local MPs visiting.

They all need to hear what we want out of the dog’s breakfast that Brexit could become if we aren’t all very careful, it’s all to fight for, so why not lend a hand?


Andrew Blenkiron manages the 4,400ha Euston Estate, south of Thetford. Principal farm enterprises are combinable and root crops, including sugar beet. In addition, the estate supports let land, sheep, outdoor pigs, poultry, suckler cows, horses and stewardship.