Harvest ’16 at Sittingbourne
Ever watched the film – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly? Well it played out here this harvest as I suspect it has on many farms. Needless to say the oilseed rape was the Ugly. We budget for 3.75 tonnes/ha on the premise that in most years we will achieve 4 tonnes/ha but we were a country mile off that this season. DK Cabernet, usually very reliable, failed to convert what appeared to be a reasonable canopy into yield; very small stems, very small seed and evidence of cabbage stem flea beetle damage all transpired to a lowest ever yield of 1.78t/ha. Trinity ran to 2.4t/ha and Campus 2.96 t/ha. I note that already the price has rallied on the back of crop shortages to £300/t+.
Bazzooka winter barley on the Luddenham marshes, mainly cropped to try and out-complete the black-grass, didn’t emerge from the winter with sufficient plant numbers/tillers to show its true potential and was never going to make a 9t/ha crop; in the end we recorded 6t/ha. Specific weights around the 62-63 mark weren’t as light as some reports I have heard of but it still gets the ‘Bad’ badge.
The Prophet peas we looked at back in June on the open day did go down fairly tight to the ground in the end. I think their collapse wasn’t helped by the late mildew infection that came in following the wet June – in hindsight we should have been through a couple of times with sulphur earlier on as a preventive measure. Yield was not unrespectful at 4t/ha with good colour retention and bids of £200/t coming in – a sizeable lift from last season’s prices.
The ‘Good’ has been the wheat; Skyfall 10t/ha, Cordiale 10.25t/ha, JB Diego 10.34t/ha. Hagbergs and protein are ok-where we might suffer is on 76 kg/hl as a fair bit of variability was noted from field to field. If I had the storage available it would have been a good year to segregate on bushel weight. Our YEN field of JB Diego, where we had the other soil pit on the open day, did 11.89t/ha.
2XL auger extension dropping out 10 metres
Just beans left to combine now. Rightly or wrongly the rape is all drilled (completed on 20 August @80 seeds/m2) but the majority won’t germinate until we get a sizeable rainfall event having only had 6 mm since the rains in June. Clomazone has gone on although we are holding off with the metazachlor for the time being.