Volume averages 10.1t/ha for Allan Chambers

Broken, changeable weather is delaying what promised to be an early spring barley/winter wheat harvest.

It now looks likely to be the last week of August before the combine is going again. Our winter barley, all Volume, was our best ever. The 36ha averaged at 10.1t/ha at a moisture of 17%. Why did it do so well? A combination of reasons, but primarily good soil fertility combined with the new SHDI’s fungicides, allowed the crop to produce to its potential.

July/mid-August drilled catch crops are gaining importance over here with livestock farmers slowly realising that grazed forage is less than half the cost of conserved forage. Locally we have stubble turnips established by three different methods. My conservative neighbour has ploughed the winter barley stubbles, power harrowed, and then drilled. My big machinery neighbour had a front mounted tined cultivator with a big disc on the rear, then sowed with a slug pellet applicator. I hired a contractor with a Carré one pass.

All three have established well, but who will have the lowest cost per tonne of dry matter produced? We may need an independent adjudicator to decide which “Co Down Farmer has Talent”. Cheryl Cole would be fine by me. Readers will be kept informed.

Our first attempt at malting barley was partially successful. We could not keep the sprouted grain cool enough and consequently no roots were produced, resulting in “green” malt. However, we are confident that cooler October weather will see a top quality local malt on the market. We need to succeed, as the investment was considerable.

Mistake of the Month: hydraulic pipes only stretch so far if not disconnected. I have known this for 45 years, but have still managed to burst two in the last week. Oil everywhere.


Arable farmer focus: Allan Chambers

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