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Peter Chapman: An excellent harvest aside from a couple of days heavy rain and a Take-all issue


Harvest came to a very satisfactory end on Friday September 12, although conditions were a bit trickier than we had hoped for.

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The previous Sunday when nearly the whole of the UK was basking in sunshine, we had another 32mm of rain which, on top of the tail end of Bertha, made ground conditions very soft.


Luckily our combine has four-wheel drive which was a god send, but some deep tracks were made getting through.


Previous to this rain we had managed to cut all the spring barley in good order. The Waggon feed barley did very well, averaging 8.1 tonnes/hectare (3.3t/acre) but the Propino failed to hit the heights at 7t/ha (2.8t/acre).


This is a variety which has served us well in the past, so it is a mystery as to what happened this year. Shandy high N malting barley also yielded well, at 7.8t/ha (3.2t/acre), but only two-thirds made the malting grade of 1.75 N.


The Horatio wheat after OSR did very well, yielding 10.5-12t/ha (4.2-4.9t/acre) to average 11.25t/ha (4.5t/acre) with a nice bold sample.


The only disappointment from this harvest was a field of Myriad wheat which was drilled after two years of spring barley. I wanted to bring this field into the block, so took the precaution of treating the seed with Jockey to help protect against Take-all. I wish I hadn’t bothered as Take-all started to appear in early May and by the end of July, the whole 14ha (35 acres) was white.


I took the step of getting the seed tested to see if there was any Jockey there, but it had a full loading. Subsequent experts went on to tell me the mild winter overwhelmed the Jockey, and it is only meant to help reduce take-all.


It was funny how a small area of Horatio drilled after spring barley with only a single purpose dressing on it did not show any take-all until well through August. The subsequent yield of 6.2t/ha (2.5t/acre) has fairly ruined my average, and I wish I had drilled it with spring barley now.


That aside, it has been a tremendous harvest with only a couple of days of heavy rain preventing it from being perfect.

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