As we progress through the harvest I am hearing a wide consensus from almost everybody that crops are a lot better than what was expected at the start of harvest and a transformation from how things looked at the end of May.
The pattern of weather has resulted in widespread regrowth in almost all crops in all areas. Like many others we have been spraying off many of our crops to facilitate harvesting.
On the Nottinghamshire farm, where almost all crops are grown for seed, the story is very different as we are not able to resort to glyphosate. Here, it has taken a lot of patience, making the most of warm, sunny days. A lot of electricity has been used in cooling crops down in store and drying out green secondary material, which has been harvested as well.
Many farms across the country have now resorted to a simple wheat and oilseed rape rotation. With prices for both of these crops at present levels it is easy to see why so many have gone down this road. When we were harvesting our winter barley, one colleague said to me that barley growing was recreational in today’s climate.
On our lightest drought-prone soils, barley yields have equalled and even exceeded wheat yields this year. It has certainly cost a lot less to grow.
Next week growers will start drilling oilseed rape and after the good yields of this harvest, better prices and availability of three-year forward rape-growing contracts, we will be seeing a record acreage going into the ground for 2012. It will soon be time again to stock up with cartridges, bangers and rockets as the pigeons are going to have a whale of a time.
farmer focus arable: Robert Law