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Steve Heard: Only spring beans to go in harvest 2014 and drilling means some tricky maths


August bank holiday weekend and both combines are already back in the barn as we await just the final 20 hectares (50 acres) of spring beans which are not yet fit.

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I have to take this opportunity to thank the fantastic team (Matthew, Mark, Giles, Dave, Vaughan and Jason) whom have given everything to bring the harvest home in record time, and now they get a well-earned weekend off.


The wheat harvest has been a real snatch and grab affair as we have worked between the numerous rain clouds. Early on I took the decision that the milling premium was too valuable to risk and so the drier has had a busy time. I think we have harvested just six loads of completely dry grain.


Our efforts to store what I considered our poorer samples of wheat separately has proved to be the right decision, but for all the wrong reasons. In fact the lower bushel samples harvested from my black-grass littered fields have tested with a full milling spec.


Unfortunately, the bulk of the other stores appear to have suffered some protein dilution due to the bigger yields and now I have to hope the millers will continue reducing their intake criteria to a 12 per cent level.


While the harvest team enjoy a lazy weekend, Ian is still busy drilling OSR. Having decided I could wait no longer, we started next year’s cropping on August 13. Establishing into what I hope are ideal conditions, we are again using our purpose built OSR drill to sow, place DAP fertiliser and apply slug pellets in the single pass.


Varieties this season include some new names, Advance and Charger, along with our Camelot and Trinity. For the first time we are also trialling DK Imiron, a Clearfield variety to help control charlock.


It certainly concentrates the mind to accurately drill a 20.9ha (52 acre) field with seven 3ha (7.41 acre) packs at a seed rate of just 2.6kg/ha (1kg/acre). Using any conventional seed to finish the field is no use – it would simply be killed by the following spray applications to which only CL varieties are resistant. We do have a small handful left over if anybody needs it.

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