Second wheats are winners in Essex

Roger Barron has had some excellent results from second wheats this year, although the combine hasn’t been out at Pattocks Farm, Colchester, Essex, since last Tuesday.

“We’ve been rained off for several days, and have had 30-40mm of rain over the past couple of days,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of borage lying on the ground in the swath – it is fairly resilient so hopefully it won’t come to any harm.”

So far Mr Barron had cut his Group three soft wheat, Zulu, which averaged a very pleasing 10.56t/ha for seed.

“It was drilled on 22 September at a rate of 135kg/ha,” he said. “It had a fairly standard but robust four–spray fungicide programme including a T0, as did the other varieties on the farm.”

See also: Academy – advice on slug control.

Crop facts

  • Crop: Winter wheat
  • Variety: Zulu
  • Area: 16ha
  • Yield: 10.56t/ha

Other varieties included Santiago, which yielded 9.4-10.6t/ha as a first wheat; Diego, which produced 9.7t/ha as a second wheat; and Relay, which managed 9.9t/ha as a second wheat.

“A lot of people seem to have had good results this year with second wheats, so I don’t think we’re alone,” said Mr Barron.

However, Myriad, also grown for seed, didn’t perform quite so well, averaging 9.04t/ha. “We drilled it at a variable rate, and pinched seed from good soil areas to put on poorer areas.

“In hindsight, we should have upped the rate on the poor areas and left the good areas unchanged, but we didn’t have enough seed to do that.”

High erucic rapeseed had yielded reasonably well, at 3t/ha. “We were expecting better yields than that, but they didn’t materialise,” said Mr Barron.

“We’re trying to lengthen the rotation and are now at one rapeseed year in five.”

As well as the borage, Mr Barron had some Scout winter wheat left to harvest at home, plus some wheat for a neighbour.

“The borage will take a fair bit of drying out,” he added. “We haven’t dried anything yet, but I expect the Scout will need drying. It’s just a shame that the prices will spoil the harvest.”