Harvest kicks off at Squab Hall

After the usual last minute rush to get the grain store cleaned and the kit ready, harvest started at Squab Hall on Tuesday 15 July. We tentatively put the combine into the hybrid barley, in the shadow of Chesterton Windmill, thinking that we might be a day or two early, only to find the grain moisture down to 13.8%! The straw, however, is still green and surprisingly damp, making the going very slow indeed.

Harvest At Squab Hall1

As we have a tested weigh-bridge, we can set the yield monitor on the combine accurately and initial yields look like it could average 9.5t/ha. Very pleasing, although with prices where they are it will sit in the shed for a while. We originally thought that oilseed rape would be a week off, but I think that we will go straight into it as soon as we finish the barley. The barley straw is sold in the swath, so will be baled at the earliest opportunity in order to get the sewage sludge spread and cultivated in. I am hoping that we get a chit of black-grass before the rape is drilled in a month or so. As thoughts turn to 2015 cropping, I think that hybrid barley will stay.

Harvest At Squab Hall2

The concrete is being laid in the new workshop today, which is very welcome as the old workshop is slowly being taken over with furniture crates and racking for document storage.

We held our initial Monitor Farm meeting on 20 June in some very warm weather. Discussion was good, although I thought we would have seen more numbers. I think we all need to understand that there could be tough times ahead and profit before subsidy needs to be in everyone’s sights.

The next Monitor Farm meeting is at Squab Hall on 6 November. In the meantime, happy harvesting!



Robert Fox is a farm manager based just outside Leamington Spa. The business is highly diversified, with a large enterprise around general storage and document storage, as well as machinery and labour sharing with another arable farm. Robert farms 400ha of owned and rented land, with a rotation of winter wheat, winter barley, winter oilseed rape, spring beans and spring barley. His challenges in the coming years include black-grass control, improving soil quality and introducing controlled traffic farming.