Keith Challen hails success of Cereals

The inch of rain in June has had more effect than the six inches from the tap on this year’s new elderflowers, but it’s too late to save the harvest, with yields severely down, although quality is good.

Congratulations to the organisers of Cereals. I visited both days and sailed in without any hold-ups. It was one of the best shows to date. However, I was slightly disappointed with the machinery.

I saw little innovation and felt there was a lot of repetition among manufacturers. Well done to Richard Larrington for campaigning to have transport weights raised. We are at a disadvantage to our European cousins; I have gladly signed the petition on his website.

After a brain-swelling 20 minutes with Philip Marr on Masstock’s stand, whom I must say is a fountain of knowledge and a true asset to the industry, I have finally decided on next year’s oilseed rape varieties.

I am going to major on EXs – no, not girlfriends, but Dekalb varieties – ExPower, my current favourite, Excellium and Excel. Hybrid vigour on our heavy soils is a real must.

My pimped up Simba Solo had its first full run out this week. We drilled some oilseed rape as green manure to check our cunning invention works. Front discs have been replaced with straight discs cutting in front of eight modified legs, followed by “DD” press and liquid fertiliser application.

Drill coulters replace rear discs, applying a band of seed before a trailing double press consolidates and places slug pellets just over the banded seed. It’s a beast to say the least, but all worked well.

My first daughter, thank goodness, has finally finished her GCSEs. Stress levels should return to normal and her reward for all the hard work is a summer holiday in Crete.

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