It has been a “better than initially feared” harvest for Cambridgeshire farm manager Chris Ascroft with quality and yields holding up well in winter wheat, spring barley and peas.
“The rains in June came just in time for many of the crops though it was too late for those on the lightest soils. Adjusted to 14% moisture, the wheat produced an average yield of 8.8t/ha, this is marginally better than the farm’s five-year average of 8.5t/ha,” explains Mr Ascroft.
Roughly half of the crop area is based around spring crops and follows a six-year rotation of peas, winter wheat, spring barley, winter barley, sugar beet and winter barley/spring barley. In some years there will be some second cereals to maintain the policy of avoiding split fields.
“All the wheat this year is KWS Kerrin and it is predominantly first wheat. It was chosen for its performance as a first and second cereal, and its orange wheat blossom midge resistance. It’s not the cleanest variety available, but its issues are easily controlled with the available fungicides,” notes Mr Ascroft.
“It’s also a pleasing and easy-to-manage variety to grow. We follow a plough-based system and prefer to drill in the first week of October, so Kerrin with its good establishment performance suits our system well. It is a little slower to get going in the spring than some varieties, but it thrashes well and produces a pleasant sample. We will be growing it again next season.”