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Steve Heard: Spring beans an easy harvest, and drilling delayed after home-run black-grass trial

The spring beans proved an easy harvest, unfortunately.

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Yield was disappointing and only half of last year’s achievement. On a positive note, they are a nice sample that should easily suit a human consumption market.


With harvest complete, it was an opportunity to advertise the older of our combines for sale and I am glad to say it is now destined to a suitable new home in Yorkshire with a Farmers Guardian reader. It is always difficult to justify changing what has been a fantastically dependable performer, but we must keep reinvesting.


Let’s hope the replacement is as reliable, but having only completed one season’s work it should be. My thanks must go to the unknown previous owner whom allowed me such a saving over the cost of brand new model; hopefully it won’t depreciate by that amount over the many years I own it.


The last few weeks have been relatively relaxed considering the time of year. As part of our black-grass strategy we had already completed our various early cultivation trials to establish the best possible stale seedbeds and so we have simply been spraying off or revisiting with our tine / cambridge roll combination to try to encourage a further flush of grass weeds. So far we have extinguished three green coverings but I fear this might still be wholly insufficient.


In an attempt to better understand the nature of our weed seed, Louise had collected and sown exactly 100 black-grass seeds on July 26 into her carefully prepared sterile grow bag. Even given her best nurturing and encouragement it was 25 days later the first plants emerged and nearly eight weeks later we still only have a 31 per cent germination. With this in mind, we have delayed any wheat drilling as long as possible but undoubtedly by the time you read this my nerve and resolve will have been broken.


Fingers crossed the new build drill lives up to my high expectations.

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