Harvest 09: Broken down at Balgone

James Grant-Suttie has just started cutting winter wheat at Balgone Farms, North Berwick, East Lothian.

“We’ve done one turn, and the combine’s broken down. It’s been very frustrating – we’ve had a lot of wet weather and the ground is soft. But what we’ve cut so far has been pretty reasonable.”

Mr Grant-Suttie had finished his Oxbridge and Optic spring barley, which had yielded well at about 6.7-6.9t/ha (2.7-2.8t/acre).

“A lot of barley up here’s being rejected for pre-germination. The maltsters are being very tight, and there’s a lot of bad barley about, so we’re delighted that the specification has been decent so far.”

Excalibur oilseed rape produced a surprising 4.5t/ha (1.8t/acre), while Pearl winter barley averaged 8.7t/ha (3.5t/acre). “But it was high in nitrogen, so just missed the malting spec.”

Mr Grant-Suttie now had 263ha (650 acres) of Viscount, Alchemy and Riband winter wheat to combine. “Some fields are starting to look a bit grey now.

“It is ready to cut, and we’re desperate to get a few good days. It’s starting to remind us a wee bit of last year.”

Farmers had cut about 80% of their spring barley in the area, but just 15% of their wheat, he added.

Crop: Spring barley
Varieties: Optic and Oxbridge
Area: 160ha (400 acres)
Yield: 6.7-6.9t/ha (2.7-2.8t/acre)

Crop: Winter barley
Variety: Pearl
Yield: 8.7t/ha (3.5t/acre)

Crop: Oilseed rape
Variety: Excalibur
Yield: 4.5t/ha (1.8t/acre)

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Duxford winter wheat is an HGCA Recommended List 2009/10 variety with very high UK treated yields and a maximum 9 rating for resistance to lodging with and without PGR. Combined with the highest second wheat yield and a balanced disease resistance profile, Duxford will continue to help UK growers meet the challenge of producing more grain profitably.

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