Record yields at Squab Hall

Harvest finished here on 11 September with the spring beans being the last to cut after being left to dry for a few days in the sun. Yield was variable in the beans ranging from 3.5 to 5.5 t/ha but averaging just over 4t/ha, pretty much on average.

We finished wheat on 13 August and then spring barley 11 days later on 24 August. Spring barley yields were disappointing, but I have to remember that it was grown on some of the worst land we have due to black-grass. Wheat has been the star this year with feed wheat averaging 11.4t/ha and one of the better fields on the farm beating out farm record at 12.44t/ha. Of course this field is behind the main buildings and would have received a lot of farmyard manure back when Squab Hall had a dairy herd. Makes you think.

LSpa _Oct _blog

Combining always seems like the gentle, enjoyable start of summer work load as no sooner is the combine at full pace, the panic of drilling oilseed rape sets in and the battle to keep it alive and growing begins. This year the rape was all established by 4 September with the earliest drilled on the 24 August. Some has been established with our tine based min-till drill after a light cultivation with the carrier and the rest behind the one pass subsoiler combination as we usually do. The results are interesting with the min-till drilled rape getting off to a better start, but will the subsoiler combination-established crop win through as it lays roots down?

LSpa _Oct _blog2

Flea beetle pressure has been evident but I think we have not had it as bad as others. We have sprayed and now most of the crop seems to be growing away apart from the later drilled field. Wheat was all drilled by 2 October apart from one field that I am leaving as a late drilling experiment in a block that is bad for black-grass.

Our various on farm experiments/trials from the 2014 harvest have shown some interesting results. These include variations in cultivation depth, direct drilling, seed rates, micro nutrient use and Nitrogen rates and will be presented at our next Monitor Farm meeting here on 6 November. As I sit here writing this we still have 130 acres of winter barley to drill but it looks like we may get a chance this weekend, before the drill is cleaned up and put away until the spring. I hope to see some of you here on 6 November for the next Monitor Farm meeting where we will be discussing results from this year’s harvest as well as cost of production for 2014 crop.



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.