Pressing the Reset Button After a Disappointing Season

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

RAGT Growers Club member Stephen Buckle has just completed a protracted harvest in Yorkshire, starting in the fine weather during mid August but only just completing the last of his spring cereals last week.

The season ended much as it had begun at Limebar Farm, Boroughbridge. After last autumn’s monsoon interrupted and finally curtailed winter wheat drilling, he had to increase his spring wheat area.

“I drilled our 20ha of winter barley for seed well before the rain – it went into a dustbowl,” recalls Stephen.

“The rain then arrived on 24 September. We usually aim to drill all wheat in the first two weeks of October, but I ended up broadcasting 40ha of winter wheat onto ploughing during two dry days at the end of the month.”

By mid-March his sandy clay loam soils had dried sufficiently, and he was able to sow 40ha of spring wheat into a good seedbed.

He harvested the winter barley in the sunshine but only managed to cut about 30% of the winter wheat before rain stopped play for a couple of weeks. During that time, quality deteriorated from fulling milling spec to feed.

“When I drilled it, I thought if I could get 7.5t/ha it would be better than any other crop I could have put in. In the event it ended up at 6.25t/ha, but it was still the right decision at the time.

“The best winter barley ended up yielding 8t/ha, which was the star of our harvest. The rest of the winter barley and the spring wheat all yielded about the same as the winter wheat.

“Overall, it wasn’t too bad considering the season, and we shouldn’t complain. But, when you are budgeting for 10t/ha of winter wheat, it’s still a bit tough to take.”