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Harvest 2019: August showers put wheat harvest on hold in southern England

Intermittent showers have put harvest on hold for some growers in southern England.

Buckinghamshire grower, Richard Heady cut 40ha of Zyatt winter wheat before yesterday’s rain hit.

 

He says: “The crop has been coming off at 9.5tonnes/hectare with a nice bold grain. I’m not sure they’ll be very high protein, they don’t look it, but we haven’t done tests yet.”

 

With 90ha of Mulika wheat left to cut, winter barley harvest has finished with 55ha of Cassia and the hybrid variety, Bazooka giving ‘pleasing’ yields, Mr Heady says.

 

“We think the hybrid did about 7.5t/ha whereas conventional did about 6.5t/ha. However, we think quality is slightly better in the conventional. This spring the rain came just right and gave us the quality, compared to last year.”


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OSR

 

But for winter oilseed rape it is a different story.

 

Just 7.5ha of a 70ha crop remain in the ground after it was ravaged by slugs and flea beetle.

 

Mr Heady says: “We have one field of WOSR but it’s 50 per cent weeds. It hasn’t ripened very evenly so we haven’t got stuck in yet.”

 

Crops replacing the failed WOSR include spring oilseed rape and second wheat.

 

Mr Heady says: “Yesterday I combined a field of second wheat which was OSR, and that performed really well so were quite pleased with that decision. The spring oilseed rape isn’t looking great, but we should have some yield off it.”

With plans to reduce OSR area next year, Mr Heady is trialling different establishment methods in an attempt to keep costs down.

Trials

 

He says: “We will try about 50ha this year – we scattered some OSR seed in the standing wheat crop, so hopefully we’ve stolen two weeks of the growing season there.

 

"We’re trying some really low-cost methods, so we’re using home-saved seed and blowing into the crop. Then if it does fail, we’re quite happy to write it off without wasting much money on it, unlike last year where we went for expensive hybrid rape and it just disappeared.”

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