Santiago tops yield tables – just

What is it with the British weather, too wet, too dry and guess what, too wet again. I’ve just returned to the office having tipped 36mm out of the rain gauge; just what we didn’t need.

Harvest finally finished on 18 September with reasonable results. A robust fungicide programme seems to have paid dividends with KWS Santiago out-yielding Oakley and Gallant by a small margin. But on the whole very pleasing results.

All the oilseed rape is in with minimal fuss, although we did get a second drilling rig out to help finish off the last 120ha so, hopefully, after this last deluge it should get off to a flying start along – with the pigeons and slugs.

They say you should never say never. Well, a good number of years ago I swore we would never wrestle with dual wheels again, and guess what? In an attempt to get our new Fendt 939 to walk on water – OK wet clay – I decided to equip it with duals all round and luckily the wrestling fell to B&B tractors.

So thanks to Nigel and Steve, the results are fantastic and although it’s no match for the Quadtrac, its performance with our 8m Simba freeflow is impressive.

Thanks to SOYL for getting round the whole farm sampling and scanning between the combine and oilseed rape drill. The maps are back and I’m fascinated to see massive variation in all the major elements.

In an attempt to even-out the phosphate differences, we’ve fitted a Horstine front hopper to the drilling tractor to apply variable rate triple super phosphate in the seed-bed.

Gundog training has reached new heights of excellence with Millie. We have only just started retrieving work this week and she’s already brought back a rotten pike from the canal bank, a plastic pigeon decoy and a small log. I think she’s ready.

Keith Challen manages 800ha of heavy clay soils in the Vale of Belvoir, Leicestershire, for Belvoir Fruit Farms. Cropping includes wheat, oilseed rape and elderflowers. The farm is also home to the Belvoir Fruit Farms drinks business

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