Wheat yields better than expected for Philip Bradshaw

It may be age-related, but harvests seem to come round faster every year. As expected, yields are not breaking records, but are better than we might have thought given the severe spring drought.

Oilseed rape is averaging 4.5t/ha, which is about normal, but much better than expected with our lack of rainfall. There were no disappointing varieties, but the semi-dwarf hybrid DK Sequoia did best for us at 5.47t/ha on a good block of land. Clearly with some blocks well below this, the challenge is still to achieve the true potential of the oilseed crop across the whole acreage.

The wheat harvest started on some drought-prone land with a block of second wheat, which was badly affected by the drought. Despite the crop being ridiculously short, it yielded 7.6t/ha which, although well below our average, was far better than expectations.

First wheat on similar land is yielding quite a bit more, and combine output is high between the storms. It’s clear there are marked local differences in crop outputs, but average yields must be down nationwide.

The air brake modification to our shared mainline trailers has been excellent. The confidence of fail-safe braking with load sensing is very welcome, and a far cry from our first venture into trailer brakes.

Back in 1976, our trailers had just been equipped with home-fabricated spool valve operated brakes. My late father helped design and build these systems and was keen to try one under a full load. While helping cart potatoes, he had his chance and manually applied the brakes. The trailer wheels locked, the axle bolts snapped and it dropped off, causing half the potatoes to jump out of the trailer when it hit the road. The braking efficiency was more than adequate, but we could have done with ABS.


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