It’s been an active few days. As the weather lifted, we hoped to finish off the oilseed rape. It seemed a good crop, but when we finished it off and got the figures, it had done a shade over 2t/ac at moistures from 9% to a little over 11%.
It was the first time we had beaten the 2t/ac barrier, so it more or less compensated - at least emotionally - for the slight disappointment with the winter barley.
We barely had the oilseed rape completed with the straw chopped when I got a text saying that the specialised combine was on the way to tackle the gluten-free oats.
This crop takes a lot of attention from both the grower and the customer. From my point of view, it has to follow a full break crop – either beans or oilseed rape.
We then hand rogue it for any stray plants of cleavers or a standard non gluten-free cereal such as wheat or barley. Next, we strim all the headlands in an effort to get rid of all the wild and sterile brome.
As I write, we are in the middle of the commercial wheat and we will then move on to the seed, hopefully well before the weather breaks
This is a really tedious job – if it’s done too early, the brome grows again and develops new seed heads. If it’s done too late, the strands get entangled with the crop and have to be hand rogued.
From the handler’s point of view, they send a dedicated combine with a chaser to ferry it from the field to the yard where a dedicated trailer that handles nothing except the gluten-free product brings it to the intake and mill, again with the grain isolated from any contamination. No wonder end user consumers are impressed with the process!
We had barely finished the oats when my wheaten straw buyer texted to say he had started his wheat and when would my straw be ready to bale?
It hadn’t occurred to me that the wheat might be ready, but when we checked, it was clear that it had come in much quicker than I had expected.
As I write, we are in the middle of the commercial wheat and we will then move on to the seed, hopefully well before the weather breaks.
Meanwhile, we finished the second-cut silage in glorious conditions with an excellent wilt. So that finishes the winter feed provision for the cattle. How much profit will be in the feeding of it is an act of faith at this stage.