Variable crops at Ashton Farms

Harvest is still about a week away at Ashton Farms, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, and crops look extremely variable.

Arable manager Martin Smart said he expected to combine Excalibur oilseed rape next week, with trial varieties about a week after that.

“It’s the lull before the storm at the moment, before it all kicks off. The oilseeds are all over the place, even within fields.

“On the thin soils they are ready, on the heavier parts they are as green as green.

“I can’t remember ever going into one fields three times, but it’s just not ready and I don’t want lots of red seeds. It’s very frustrating.”

Mr Smart had about 400ha (1000 acres) of Sesame, Excalibur, Grandia and Dimension to cut, as well as trials of new varieties Climber, Record and Primus.

“I can’t wait to get the combine into the trial varieties – they look so good, I’m like a kid in a toyshop.

“They’ve got huge pods, with 27 or 28 seeds in them; but you never can tell until you combine them.”

Spring beans on the heavy ground looked well, he said. “They are nicely podded up.”

Diego and Oakley wheat also looked promising. “We had some yellow rust early on in Oakley, but got on top of it quickly.

“On the lighter land they have dropped some tillers, but the ones that are left have grown big ears following the last bit of rain.”

Hereward also looked excellent on the heavier land, he added. “If that doesn’t do well I think I’d give up and do cows. It’s very unlikely.”

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