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Peter Chapman: An easy harvest comes to a sudden stop, and some sad news from next door

Insights

What had been a relatively easy harvest so far came to a shuddering halt when Bertha made her appearance.

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Everything had been going so well, with the winter barley dispatched with ease and we even managed to get some into store without drying which is unheard of.

 

My initial views were correct, with the Volume comfortably out-yielding Glacier. Glacier did a very respectable 9.5 tonnes/hectare (3.8t/acre), but the bushel weight was disappointing, just making the 63kg/hl mark. Volume, however, averaged 10.5t/ha (4.25t/acre), with a better sample of 66kg/hl off the drier. There seems to be no real trend to yields in our area, with Volume delighting and disappointing in equal measure.

 

What does seem apparent though is early drilled crops seemed to disappoint more, so whether they were too forward and thick making disease control an issue remains to be seen. It just goes to show a good growing season does not always translate into yield.

 

OSR

The OSR started very well where we managed to get two-thirds lifted before the storm at a moisture content between 9 and 12 per cent. However, the high winds and heavy rain stopped the combine rolling for a week, with the last of the swaths lifted yesterday as I write. It was not a salvage operation but moisture content was up to about 15 per cent and there was a fair bit of sprouting on any tramped bouts.

 

There has been a lot of seed lost from desiccated crops in the area though, with about 30 per cent of these crops still to be harvested. We tried desiccation for two seasons, coming on the end of a bad wind shake in one of those years. Since then we have said you cannot have good performing wind turbines and desiccate rape on the same farm.

 

Harvest woes were put into perspective though, with the untimely death of a close family friend this week after a short illness. Alex Greig had been my next door neighbour for 37 years and was a very fit, wiry, 72-year-old who still completed a full day’s work with vigour. He and his wife, Iris, had four great children, with all three sons having worked with us at some time. Nothing was ever too much trouble, and you could not have asked for a better neighbour. He will be sadly missed by all in the community.

 

Rest in peace Alex.

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