Improved soil structure pays off

James Forrest has finished combining winter barley at Mowness Hall, Little Stonham, Suffolk, and is now into oilseed rape.

The Sequel winter barley, grown on light land, averaged 7.5t/ha (3t/acre), while the Cassia on heavy ground yielded 9t/ha (3.6t/acre) – both about average for the farm.

“Considering how dry it’s been we were really very pleased with that.”

A field of DO6 oilseed rape produced a pleasing 4.5t/ha (1.8t/acre), but Astrid, which Mr Forrest hoped to get into today (29 July) looked as if it had suffered in the dry weather.

“We had 13.5mm of rain in April, 15mm in May, and 28mm at the end of June, which was too late to do much good.

“But we’ve been combining three days this week, and have been rained off each time.”

In recent years Mr Forrest had invested heavily in improving soil structure on the heavy ground.

“Hopefully the work we’ve done on reducing compaction will pay off in our wheat, where the roots have been able to get down to the moisture.”

Crop: Winter barley
Variety: Sequel
Area: 43ha (106 acres)
Yield: 7.5t/ha (3t/acre)

Variety: Cassia
Area: 16ha (40 acres)
Yield: 9t/ha (3.6t/acre)

Crop: Oilseed rape
Variety: DO6
Yield: 4.5t/ha (1.8t/acre)

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