Farmer Focus: This growing season is welcome back any time

Harvest has been the least stressful for a number of years. Wheat came off around 14% and went straight into store.

The memories of hanging around the 9t batch dryer seem long ago and not missed.

I’m not sure of the exact value of a dry harvest but it seems more than just economic, it’s certainly been refreshing and uplifting.

See also: AHDB Monitor Farm host sets out plan to tackle blackgrass

About the author

Richard Harris
Richard Harris manages his family farm in partnership with his father in south Devon. The farm grows wheat, barley, linseed, grass and cover crops, with a small pick-your-own pumpkin patch.
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Wheat yields are around 9-10t/ha with an 81kg/hl specific weight, so we could have a little more than the volume is suggesting.

The straw was noticeably brittle and lower than our average, but all-in-all, a pleasing result. 

However, a slight frustration has been highlighted in the combine yield maps, where hedge to tramline yields seem to be 3-4t/ha lower than the inside part of the headland tramline.

This is something we have tried to address in the past, but seem to be struggling to solve. Likely a combination of compaction and fertiliser application reduction.

Both issues should miraculously disappear in our ‘regen’ system but we must be bucking the trend. I’ll have a word with the worms and soil microbes…

The most concerning crop is our pumpkins. The drought is really kicking in, with fruiting sites aborting left, right and centre.

This could be the lowest yielding crop of them all.

With limited irrigation in the area we’re resorting to a slurry tanker and rain gun to keep them alive. Costly and time consuming it may be, but it makes us feel that we’re trying.

After a good campaign last year, this year’s combination of the cost of living, autumn recession, drought and no doubt a monsoon autumn could be the perfect storm.

Having said that, I’d have this growing season again. It’s welcome back any time.

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