Kevin Littleboy farms 243ha
(600 acres) as Howe
Estates at Howe, Thirsk,
North Yorks. The medium
sandy loam in the Vale of
York supports potatoes,
winter wheat, rape and
barley, plus grass for sheep
TO say the stop/start weather pattern has tried everybodys patience this year is an understatement. However, I have been able to converse with farmers around the UK and further afield on an internet newsgroup – news://uk.business.agriculture. It has helped me retain my sanity and increased my knowledge on numerous subjects during the thunder, lightning and rain, while staring at a very large Lexion combine idle in front of the office.
Yields so far have been impressive considering the lack of summer we have had. Second wheats drilled with Consort and Claire have achieved about 10t/ha (4t/acre).
The most remarkable field scale trial this year was Consort dressed with Monsantos seed dressing silthiopham drilled as a third wheat. The chemical increased yield by 1.6t/ha (0.65t/acre).
The most disastrous yield was from the land flooded on June 4. The 1.2m (4ft) deep water coincided with flowering, which gave rise to blind heads.
The increase in management and costly inputs for Malacca milling wheat, after potatoes, paid off with yields of 10-12t/ha (4-5t/acre) and a protein of 13.98%.
Shamrock after rape was disappointing, although it looked a cracking crop throughout the year. It was so green that it had to be desiccated with Roundup. Combining it reminded me of harvesting Buster. It wasnt a pleasure.
Three further trial results were interesting. They showed that I need to learn more about Hynosanta hybrid wheat before growing it on a large scale.
A new secret variety, CU/0001/KL, yielded an astounding 15.5t/ha (6.3t/acre). And seed rate trials showed Consort drilled at 200 seeds/sq m as a second wheat in mid-September achieved 11.4t/ha (4.6t/acre).
The realisation of the contempt with which British agriculture and the British manufacturing industry are held within the corridors of power is reflected by the obscene subsidy of the Dome. So far it has cost £400,000 per job. Remember, this is OUR money for a job that lasts only a year. *
How can government back the Millennium Dome to the tune of £400,000 per employee, but do so little for manufacturing and farming, asks Kevin Littleboy.
Rowlands – chap standing in grain store.
All is safely gathered in and yields are better than expected, says David Rowlands. But a visit by the IACS inspectors makes him wonder if IACS compliance training is now needed.
Bumstead – chap with shovel in grain store.
The slow, slow, quick, quick, slow harvest forced Stephen Bumstead to invest in a mobile grain drier to dry damp grain. Indian summer conditions will now follow, he reasons.
Keeler – chap with archery target
On target! Claire winter wheat did a barn-busting 11.4t/ha, the best ever wheat result on Andrew Keelers farm. Needless to say it features prominently in this years drilling plans.