Steve Heard: 'I had no great expectations but our OSR yields so far have been dreadful'

290716 IYF Steve Heard 2862016 42031.jpg

I guess the good news is our harvest got underway earlier than expected on July 21. The bad news is I now wish we had not started. Ignorance was bliss.


I had no great expectations but our oilseed rape yields so far have been pretty dreadful. The first 40 hectares (100 acres) we cut is probably the most disappointing crop I have ever grown, despite previously looking quite good, I thought. Since then we have found some slightly better crops but the most productive field so far only managed 3.2 tonnes/ha (1.3t/acre).


We are still in the early days but I do hope things get better quickly because any chance of a ski trip this year looks unlikely at the moment.


To add to the frustration, even if we do get an unlikely price rally in the markets then my budgeted third of our crop which was sold forward now looks like now being actually half of the crop already committed. So any chance to enjoy better prices will also be restricted.


My frustration towards black-grass is already over published, but this hatred increased to a whole new level yesterday while unblocking one of the combines. Why do the clever German machinery designers make the most likely location for a crop blockage so totally inaccessible? I do not claim to be a master engineer, but would love an opportunity to explain to them the errors of their ways.


Instead of working to increase output through greater engine power, perhaps they might like to address the inevitable downtime which maintenance and repairs incur. Any improvements which allowed tangled debris to be extracted without removing the skin from your forearms and blooding your knuckles would be much appreciated and might genuinely influence my next purchase.


Aware I am starting to sound like the stereotypical ‘moaning farmer’, I should say the harvest weather has been kind up to now and the grain drier still sits with the fuel supply turned firmly off. It also looks unlikely the tax man will be too much of a bother this year.


Wishing everyone a safe harvest.

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