Pleasing harvest near Winchester

Nick Rowsell has finished the bulk of harvest at West Stoke Farm, Winchester, Hampshire, with just spring oilseed rape left to cut.

“We’re spraying that off tomorrow – it doesn’t look great, but it was just a stop-gap crop after the wet winter we had,” said Mr Rowsell.

“Considering how bad the crops looked in the first week of March it’s amazing how well they have yielded.”

Wheat had matched the 10-year average at 9.4t/ha, with Gallant coming in just under 9t and Santiago 9.6-9.7t/ha. “We had some specific weight issues with the Gallant, at 74kg/hl, although the protein was alright at 12.8%,” he added.

“I won’t be growing it again because it succumbed so badly to septoria.”

See also: Shortage of milling wheat leads to high premiums.

Spring barley had been the crop of the year, with 300ha levelling at 7.99t/ha. “The Propino was earlier and had a nitrogen of 1.35%, while the Odyssey yielded slightly better and tested at 1.45-1.55%,” said Mr Rowsell.

Mascani winter oats yielded slightly above average at 8t/ha, and had a much better bushel weight than Gerald grown previously, at 54-55kg/hl.

The only below-average crop was oilseed rape, which came in at 3.8t/ha. “Charger was nearer to 4t, while Camelot was at 3.7t/ha.

“Volume winter barley did 10t/ha in clean fields but we had one large field with bad brome that did 8t/ha, which brought the average down to 9tha,” he added.

“It’s been a pretty good harvest, although it felt like it might have been better.”

Poppies, grown for morphine, had also yielded well. “But they haven’t been tested for Alkaloids yet.”

Next year Mr Rowsell planned to significantly increase his spring cropping acreage, to 800ha, so he was currently considering cover crops like radish, vetch, phacelia and buckwheat to over-winter.

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