Soil improvement yielding benefits

Harvest is going well for Tom Allen-Stevens, of Wicklesham Farms near Farringdon, Oxfordshire.

Forty hectares of Winner oilseed rape yielded slightly better than the farm’s four year average at 3.5t/ha and around 0.5t/ha above last year. Oil contents came in at 42-43%, which he was also pleased with.

Improvements to soil structure on the lighter land are a key factor in the higher yields he believes. “We have a lot of light land and have been building soil fertility and structure using sewage sludge over the past few years. We are now starting to see the benefits.”

He is yet to see results from some 30ha of Malacca winter wheat cut so far, but expects yields and quality to be about average, although fears some of the lighter land could have suffered during dry weather earlier in the year.

“Things are looking pretty good – crops established well and have been looked after well, so fingers crossed.”

He also has 18ha of winter beans, which he is less optimistic about. After being direct drilled before Christmas, they were slow to emerge and will be used predominantly to help build soil fertility, he noted.

  • Crop/variety: Winner oilseed rape

  • Area: 40ha

  • Yield: 3.5t/ha

  • Quality: 42-43% oil


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