Harvest has been rained off at Geddington Farms, Kettering, Northamptonshire, but David Reynolds is still pleased with progress so far.
“We’ve got all the oilseed rape done, and it’s been pretty reasonable,” he said. “We had lots of different varieties but the one that seems to have done the best is Trinity, although we haven’t had any sample results back yet.”
Overall, the rape had yielded about 3.7t/ha. “We’d prefer a bit more, but we seem to have hit a ceiling on oilseed rape yields,” said Mr Reynolds.
“According to the RSPB, pigeons are now the UK’s most common bird – and most of them seem to live within five miles of here. They’re worse than ever.”
See also: Hot oilseed rape presents storage risk.
After half an inch of rain yesterday (31 July), combining had come to a standstill, although Mr Reynolds hoped to make a start on cutting winter wheat this evening or tomorrow.
“It all looks good – touch wood,” he said. “We’ve got mainly Solstice and Santiago, and are getting reports of high yields from Camgrain – although it seems as yields go up the protein comes down.”
Harvest progress was well ahead of previous years, and Mr Reynolds expected it to be cleared up by mid-August.
This year, he was planning some major changes to his cropping rotation, to comply with the three-cropping rule, and to tackle blackgrass.
“We were block cropping one farm at a time, but can’t do that any more. So we’re going to introduce more spring cropping,” he said.
“There are one or two fields with more blackgrass than we’d like, and the chemicals don’t seem to be working as well as they should – it’s like wild oats 30 years ago.”