Mixed harvest

3 September 2001

Mixed harvest

HARVEST has been mixed for Southwest barometer farmer George Horsford, farming at Travellers Rest near Blandford. “Winter barley has been exceptional, the best ever, but naked oats have been a real let down and wheat has been mixed.”

They finished wheat yesterday and hope to make a start on 44ha (110 acres) of beans this afternoon, despite 3mm of rain last night. There is also 75ha of spring oilseed rape.

“Winter wheat has had highs of 10t/ha (4t/acre) and lows of 8t/ha (3.2t/acre). The average will be a bit better than last year around 8.6-8.7t/ha (3.5t/acre).” Soil on the farm ranges from chalk to clay cap on chalk. He says yields are better on the lighter land.

Varieties Chaucer and Savannah have been disappointing, while biscuit wheat Claire and Consort have been very good. Some February drilled Soissons yielded 7t/ha (2.8t/acre), which he sys is not too bad considering the drilling date.

Autumn drilled Soissons is good quality, with 13% moisture and Hagbergs over 250.

Optic spring barley has had average yields at 6.4t/ha (2.6t/acre), with 1.55-1.65% nitrogen. “Spring and winter barley have had very low screenings.”

Oats have been disappointing. Grafton naked oats yielded 4.5t/ha (1.8t/acre) and Gerald conventional oats yielded 6.8t/ha (2.75t/acre). “The naked oats are 2t/ha below average and conventional ones 1t/ha down. It seems though they were less forgiving on autumn and winter rainfall, and there were some dodgy seedbeds, but quality is ok.”

Winter barley has been exceptional in averaging 8t/ha (3.2t/acre). Fanfare had nitrogen all below 1.75% and Maris Otter at 1.55%.

“Considering how awful the winter was, its a huge sigh of relief to get some good yields when you thought all was lost. It turned out ok. It shows that the rainfall and sunshine in the summer really makes or breaks the harvest.”

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