Andrew Blenkiron starts new oilseed rape trial

yourfile (2) With the exception of a rejuvenated field of Claire winter wheat, cereal harvest was completed by mid-August. This was a career first for me, from which we moved quickly to yet another – oilseed rape drilling finished by 21 August.

This included two side-by-side plots, one of DWH140 and one of DK Expower, in among DK Cabernet. It’s an interesting comparison next to the side of the drive; and yes, the small gap between the varieties was put there on purpose.

Sowing half the rape with the subsoiler and the other ploughed and sown will give us further comparisons. The vintage Minimat drill, used for the plough-drill-combination is ideal on this light and easy worked land. But I remember that this method was scoffed at in my college days by those with plenty of money to run over the ground twice.

It’s amazing how every season each part of the country is so different. Only three years ago, many of us did not finish cereal harvest and oilseed rape drilling until the end of September. Isn’t it the uncertainty and those many challenges that are part of the reason why we all enjoy the job so much?

However, I would prefer to forget my wheat yields this year. Let’s just say that it wasn’t quite as bad as 1976 and clocked up yet another career first. A crop drilled late after sugar beet wasn’t too far away from breaking the record low and was best measured in kg rather than t/acre.

The next challenge is to get out of the forward contracts, which would be yet another first. So many firsts in one season combined with filming in preparation for my appearance at the Oxford Farming Conference in January 2012 what an interesting summer this has been. Now into the autumn with lots of tillage events to visit to see if they have updated or developed anything to beat that Minimat.

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