West: Starting again after a rollercoaster ride

October has begun, though our harvest is not over until the last of the linseed is cut.

This year’s harvested crops in our area had a roller coaster ride – with more downs than ups.

There were some good results, such as the spring cereals, which yielded well with few blackgrass problems. Spring cereals yielded particularly well following a break crop – not their usual place in the rotation. Also pleasing is that a few crops of late sown spring rape produced  up to 2.5 t/ha – with little input – compared to all the time and effort put into the mediocre winter rape crops.

There were more disappointments – mostly crops planted into unfit land. Going against nature is like trying to push water uphill.  More winter oilseed rape crops should have been taken out, as they didn’t show their usual power of recovery, despite being given every chance.  Bean yields were also generally lacklustre despite crops establishing well.

We now start afresh – new sowings of winter rape have generally established well after a slow start.  There has been slug damage where pellet treatments were delayed, but crops have gained from the recent warm weather. We hope these crops will reach three true leaves by mid-October.

The dry weather has also encouraged a surge of cereal drilling, but despite low dormancy, little blackgrass has emerged so far. Milling wheats are mostly Gallant and Crusoe, and feed wheats are still based on JB Diego and Scout – with newer varieties such as Santiago, Horatio and Relay being included. All early sowings are planned to receive an early herbicide treatment. We have fingers crossed that all the year-old seed will perform.

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