Farmer Focus: Thieves return but heightened security pays-off

Quite incredibly, four weeks to the day the intruders that stole a heap of our GPS equipment returned.

We were rudely awoken at 2am by the alarm on our phones alerting us to the fact that there was movement around one of our sheds.

On reviewing CCTV footage, we could see the same two guys that visited us previously fleeing the scene after the alarm was triggered.

This time they were unsuccessful and our heightened security measures paid dividends.

See also: Oilseed rape beats winter barley to the combine

About the author

David Fuller
David Fuller manages 3,500ha of medium sandy clays for McGregor Farms based at Coldstream, on both sides of the border. Cropping includes wheat, spring barley, winter barley and oilseed rape, spring beans and vining peas. Potatoes are farmed in collaboration with Greenvale AP.
Read more articles by David Fuller

Will they be back? Only time will tell, but it is reassuring to know that the measures we have taken have prevented another theft.

My only advice to others is to take the security of your sites and equipment seriously.

The people carrying out these crimes are organised and determined, and not just your day-to-day chancers.

Winter barley harvest

Winter barley harvest got under way on 17 July, only a day later than the unusually early 2022 season and even more unusually, mid-afternoon on a Monday.

When I say “got under way” we did have a slight rain delay, with yet another heavy shower 30 minutes into the start of harvest 2023.

Showery weather seems to be the theme for at least the next week, so it looks like a snatch-and-grab job to get through the winter barley and hope the straw doesn’t get too wet.

Despite being brackled, the first field of Kingsbarn winter barley yielded well, not quite hitting 10t/ha, but 9.99t/ha.

This was quite surprising considering the relatively difficult growing season.

Our next crop to harvest will be Tardis. With shorter straw than the hybrids, it stood the weather slightly better. Hopefully, the yield theme continues.

Perhaps one of the greatest disappointments this season is the lack of resilience to the weather of some of our wheat varieties.

Despite a full and comprehensive plant growth regulator/fungicide programme and great care selecting varieties and seed rates, we are starting to see a bit of lodging.

We have not seen this for many years, which is probably why it feels so disappointing to see areas of lodged crops.

Oilseed rape despite being tall, is standing well. Most is desiccated and we will be looking to start harvesting soon. More on yields and progress in my next article.

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