Farmer Focus: Overwintered wheat seed passes germination test

Harvest was completed in mid-September. By the time we had got to the spring oats and spring barley, we had an awful lot on the floor. We estimated we have lost 0.5t/ha of spring barley with fallen heads.

I must say a massive thank you to my dad, who came all the way from Kent to drive the combine for a week.

This helped us cover some ground and allow other tasks to be carried out that had got behind due to the weather, including third-cut silage and cover crop drilling. As the saying goes, “not all heroes wear capes”.

See also: How one Northants farmer is using cost maps to cut crop risk

As harvest drew to a close, our thoughts quickly turned to the autumn drilling campaign. Our start date with wheat was 17 September – the same as last year.

We are fortunate we do not have a big grassweed problem, but I can see spring crop volunteers being a bit of an issue. 

Fast progress

We progressed fast, and with weather modules showing not a particularly long period of settled weather, we pushed even harder.

The conditions were perfect, which gave us even more of an incentive and the drill was working really well, going straight into stubble.

I have come to realise getting ouput at drilling is all about logistics. Ensuring everything is in the right place for the day saves on a lot of down time.

To maximise output, we also double shifted the drill for 17-18 hours/day. Autosteer makes this so much easier.

Overwintered seed

We have used a lot of overwintered seed this year, which kept really well in the shipping container.

It was all germination tested, which came back fine, but we have also homesaved our Graham winter wheat seed for the first time and left it undressed.

Extase is the new variety this year, which I think will allow us to focus on input costs and, therefore, margin rather than chasing yield.

We are currently 72% of the way through autumn drilling, with 40ha of wheat and 32ha of winter beans left to drill.

Hopefully, we can get that done and put the farm in a good state going into the winter.

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