Farmer Focus: Wearing ‘tangoed’ t-shirts for a safe harvest

Harvest started a few days earlier than normal, with Craft winter barley cut on the 6/7 July. I am pleased with performance and the full malting spec was a promising start. Straw was cleared by our neighbour, who we have established a new muck for straw deal with this year.

We cut the remaining OSR that we took to harvest, and it was as poor as we expected. However, I’m pleased to have the fields clear.

As I write this, we are one day into cutting winter oats. Although they have looked good, unfortunately they are 1t/ha behind where I would have expected – but it is a milling sample.

See also: Poll: Have you carried out a safety audit this harvest?

We will be into wheat shortly, but I have given up trying to predict where things are this year!

We had a pre-harvest health and safety Zoom call with the NFU, which was well received. A good use of three hours by the team, highlighting the importance of this at peak times of year.

We are all currently walking round like we have been “tangoed” in our florescent orange t-shirts provided by NFU Hampshire! The forklift refresher course, along with a grinder’s course, have also been completed.

We had the Vaderstad out to ensure the cultivator depth and angle were no more than they should be, to give us confidence in our quest to reduce tillage or do just what was required and no more.

We will move the bio drill of the top down and on to the carrier L, which will allow faster and shallower cover crop establishment.

Using our rotation as a tool to try and answer the net-zero question is interesting, as its one of the big areas I feel we can control without large risk of changing the whole system.

By dropping OSR this year and increasing pulses, with better use of CSS options and slightly more winter oats, we have moved away from the fertiliser requirements of a few years ago.

Overlaying a financial budget with a carbon budget is interesting to see the reductions. We have used more fibrophos, FYM and biosolids in the P/K planning, which is also significant.

Lower N requirements from our rotation has seen a reduction here. This is by far the largest emitter in our carbon budget and we will continue to look at this to get a better understanding of what the livestock and cover crops contribute.


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