Farmer Focus: OSR delivers top yield after seed rate blooper

After early optimism that harvest 2019 was going to play out similar to harvest 2018, we are back into the reality of a snatch-and-grab harvest.

Recently I was made aware of an interesting fact: August is now 30% wetter than it used to be.

However, progress has been made with the winter barley and oilseed rape. Both were harvested in good conditions, with pleasing outcomes.

See also: Practical tips for growers sticking with oilseed rape

The winter barley has averaged 8.3t/ha, with the hybrid doing 0.4t/ha on average more than the conventional. However, the specific weight was significantly better on the Cassia.

Top yield

The OSR was the crop that really surprised us, averaging 4.6t/ha over the weighbridge and corrected.

Our variety of choice was Campus and it was planted at just 40 seeds/sq m (a mistake on my behalf). We are hoping the agronomic decisions of a wider rotation, low seed rates and the use of a late application of liquid urea are paying off.

We are completely aware that our flea beetle pressure is not at the levels experienced in other parts of the country, but they are becoming ever more present.

We are now on stop, but the wheat should be ready once we get a break in the weather. I am not entirely sure how it is going to perform.

There are a lot of ears, but we will have to wait and see whether they are all fall with bold grains.

Our spring oats looked fantastic, but they have taken a bit of a battering over this past weekend, with heavy rain and strong winds.

Break test

In preparation for harvest and after some inspiration from an NFU farm vehicle safety event earlier in the year, we took our grain trailers to a local HGV test centre for a rolling road to check the brakes.

This was a worthwhile exercise and to the credit of the team, the trailers passed the brake efficiency test.

In addition to this, we have also fitted reversing cameras on the trailers that are integrated into the screen in the tractors. These are a brilliant safety feature and are a real driver aid.