Steve Heard: 'Yields tell a story of the good, the bad and the ugly'

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With the sun still shining last week we finished our spring beans and the linseed, thankfully, combined easily in near perfect conditions.


Final yields tell a story of the good, the bad and the very ugly. On the positive side, milling wheat results over our weighbridge averaged 9.14 tonnes/hectare (3.71t/acre), a long way behind last year’s figures but not a disaster.


Oilseed rape though was a shocking disappointment at 2.72t/ha (22t/acre) and the final results for spring beans are a sight for already sore eyes at 3.31t/ha (1.34t/acre). This means for every seed bean I planted, we got less than 10 beans back. What a lot of work for basically nothing.


So the only break crop to make any money will be the single field of spring linseed, probably beginner’s luck but inevitably I have decided to increase the area we grow next year.


Once again I have to thank the fantastic regular harvest gang (Dave, Mark, Vaughan, Nigel and Jason) who keep coming back year after year to join Ian, Will and myself. I am very grateful to all these great guys who pull together to form a super-efficient team which apparently seems to run itself.


I must not forget to mention the beautiful Annabel who stepped in last minute to help haul some grain, much to the combine driver’s delight. I have never heard such polite conversation over the two-way radios, even if it was only for those few days.


Fortunately, the day after we finished drilling our OSR, a thunder storm dropped a much needed two inches of rain and at the start of a Bank Holiday weekend the timing could not have been better.


With just one exception, the flea beetle have for now been held off with a pair of insecticide sprays but the battle with slugs is probably not yet finished, we have tried to limit our pellet use for both financial and environmental reasons.


Good growing conditions not only benefit the OSR, a healthy flush of black-grass will soon require a clethodim herbicide spray, as I once again start to invest serious money on a crop which gives absolutely no guarantee of a financial return.

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