The oilseed rape harvest has finished and we are now combining milling wheat. The rape started well, but the further we got through, the harder it became. We have suffered from uneven ripening with the glyphosate having hardly any affect on the plant stems. But yields have been pleasing, ranging from 3.8t/ha to 4.8t/ha. All the rape will be moved off farm by the end of the week, so we will have a more accurate figure then rather than relying on the yield meter readings.
The land is cultivating extremely well this year, which will hopefully give us a good flush of blackgrass that can be controlled before drilling. Having established the rape with a subsoiler last year is making a huge difference to cultivations this year, but we are still getting through a lot of metal.
As fields become clear another familiar sight is vehicle tracks everywhere. The occupants of these vehicles are after several things – hares, deer and machinery left out overnight – such as the combine and wide tractors that we don’t take home.
Last week, our gamekeeper disturbed two people on top of the combine at midnight. Who knows what they would have done if they hadn’t been seen. With the best will in the world, the police don’t have the resources to deal with the constant stream of people poaching and stealing from farms.
Locked gates and fences are not a big enough deterrent. We have finally had enough and are now employing the services of a private security firm to patrol the whole estate. They come equipped with a four-wheel drive vehicle so that they can travel anywhere and have a large dog to keep them company. This constant presence will hopefully have the desired effect and make people think twice about coming onto the farm.