Full speed ahead near Newbury

Harvest and fieldwork is at full speed at Priors Farm, Newbury, Berkshire, with combining, baling and drilling all underway.

“It’s a bit manic, but we’re getting there,” said George Brown.

He had not cut wheat for a couple of weeks, moving instead into Tipple spring barley, which was yielding just under 7.4t/ha (3t/acre).

“It’s got perfect germination and is 1.7% nitrogen, so that’s met expectations.”

Having cut 53ha (130 acres) of Tipple, he had another 36ha (90 acres) to finish, along with 34ha (84 acres) of Alchemy winter wheat.

“We’ve nearly finished combining at Sheepdrove, Lambourn, where the organic spring wheat was pretty pleasing at 5-6.2t/ha (2-2.5t/acre).”

Mr Brown reckoned he had another four or five days’ combining to do. “If it dries out we’ll be quicker – but drying the grain is taking a long time, which is holding us up.”

Having spent Sunday (28 August) pulling 200 horse lorries out of the mud at Highclere Castle horse trials, Mr Brown was also busy drilling oilseed rape and baling straw.

“The baling has been very tricky; there’s green straw, and the ground is so wet that even when you turn the straw, it’s going back onto wet ground.

“I shall be glad when harvest is finished, but we’re getting there slowly.”

Crop: Spring barley
Variety: Tipple
Area: 53ha (130 acres)
Yield: <7.4t/ha (3t/acre)

Crop: Winter wheat
Variety: Alchemy
Area: 34ha (84 acres)
Yield: 8.6-9.4t/ha (3.5-3.8t/acre)

Crop: Spring oats
Variety: Husky
Yield: 6.4t/ha (2.6t/acre)

Crop: Oilseed rape
Variety: Sesame
Area: 34ha (85 acres)
Yield: 4.8t/ha (1.93t/acre)

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