Autumn drilling is underway

As harvest 17 becomes a distant memory our attentions have very much turned to getting next years crop in the ground. We started our autumn drilling campaign with our only field of winter barley that we are planting this year. Winter barley became part of our rotation a few years ago as we were looking for a crop to get the harvest off to an early start, not only did this mean that we could get some crop in the shed in July when the days are still long, it also meant that we had some ground ready for early establishment of Oilseed Rape. Although the winter barley has performed ok in terms of yield, we have not been very happy with both the straw that is very hard to chop and spread as well as the number of volunteers (seeds that are not collected by the combine) that seem to keep germinating in the following crops.  

We have also planted a field of winter linseed that has come out of its two year grass ley, we had a demonstration drill come in and drill the crop straight into the grass stuble. By doing this it means that we did not have to plough the grass field and undo all of the structuring and organic matter built by the grass. Hopefully the Linseed crop will allow time for the grass mat to break down before it goes back into our main arable rotation next year. After the barley and the Linseed we have moved on to our wheat drilling, this is the most important crop for us as it makes up half of our cropping area. We got the first 100 ha in the ground very quickly into near perfect conditions, we have since had to stop though as the weather has turned wet again. 

Once we get going again we have the rest of our wheat area to drill along with some winter beans and some winter oats.

The crops that we are growing this year.

Autumn planted:

Wheat, Barley, Oil Seed Rape, Linseed, Beans, Winter Oats.

Spring planted:

Spring Oats, Sugar beet 

We also have some grass leys that will be used for both grazing our livestock as well foraging to go into our local AD plant to be produced into Gas and electricity. We have about 60 ha of cover crops in the ground that the ewes and lambs will graze over winter and then the oats and sugar beet will be planted into the stubble in the spring.