Waiting for the weather in Norfolk

Paul Hartley is waiting for the weather to dry out before continuing combining wheat at Frank Hartley & Sons, Downham Market, Norfolk.

“We finished a bit of Viscount on Monday (15 August) but the later drilled wheat wasn’t quite ready.

“There was so much secondary growth that a plant would have one hard ear and the next was still milky,” he said.

“We would have been going in it today, but it’s raining.”

Yields in the early drilled Scout had been good, but later drilled Viscount was hit by the cold winter and dry spring, and came off at just 6.7t/ha (2.7t/acre).

“Hagbergs are all over the place, at 200-300 within the same field – I’m not sure why.”

Oilseed rape had yielded extremely well, with Dimension reaching 5.4t/ha (2.2t/acre) with an oil content of 44.6%, and Primus at 5.2t/ha (2.1t/acre)

However, a later drilled field of Dimension was affected by pigeon and swan damage, and came in at 4.2t/ha (1.7t/acre).

“Even with that, we would have averaged about 5.2t/ha (2.1t/acre) compared to 4.7t/ha (1.9t/acre) last year.

“But a very bad field of D06, after swan damage, brought our overall average down to 4.8t/ha (1.96t/acre) at 43.5% oil.”

Last year Mr Hartley trialled minimum tillage with a Sumo vertidrill, and has found it so successful that he will use it for all crops this year.

“We’ve cut the wheat stubble quite high ahead of oilseed rape drilling, to try and deter the birds a bit.”

Crop: Oilseed rape
Varieties: Dimension & D06
Area: 53ha (130 acres)
Yield: 4.8t/ha (1.96t/acre)

Crop: Winter wheat
Variety: Scout
Area: 27.5ha (68 acres)
Yield: 8.5t/ha (3.4t/acre)

Variety: Viscount
Area: 29ha (72 acres)
Yield: 6.7t/ha (2.7t/acre)

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