Steve Heard: "Soil has been dry and hard, making like tricky"

It has been another busy few weeks of harvest and while I spoke about how the oilseed rape harvest had been rubbish last month, this month has provided a pleasant surprise on the wheat front.


The milling wheat is in and yields have ranged from 7.5-10 tonnes per hectare (3-4.25t/acre) and quality, suprisingly, has been some of the best we have ever had.


Protein tests show it at full specification and at 14.2 per cent, which is fantastic for us. It also occurred our highest protein came with our highest yield, when normally I complain of diluting the protein with a high yield. It just seems to be the way it has gone this year and I am not complaining.


The crops which struggled with slugs last autumn have been the thinner ones this year, giving us poorer yields.


We have still got the linseed to get in, which looks really good, and the spring beans, which look really bad. We struggled with a wet autumn when we were planting them and a dull spring, which does not help their growth at all.


We even have some solar panels, the data from which has shown we produced 25 per cent more electricity in the four months from November to March than we did from March to July. This shows you what we are up against.


Two-thirds of the OSR is in the ground, but the ground has been dry and hard, making life a bit tricky, and this meant we had to work hard not to disturb too much subsoil.


On another front, my daughter ran a charity evening to raise cash for Pump Aid, which helps install water pumps in Malawi. As part of this I donated a few hours driving my combine, which someone ended up paying £320 for.


The guy, who was not from farming, came and spent a few hours driving the combine during harvest. Let us just say he was better when the GPS controls were on than when he tried to control it purely by hand.


It has given me an idea though. If people are happy to pay a lot of money for a driving experience session in a Ferrari, how about the same concept with combines.


I might be on to a winner and it will certainly be more profitable now the wheat price is slipping back again.

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