Barley harvest, drones and IPF Contour

Harvest is in full swing now and we have taken advantage of the cracking Yorkshire weather to start harvest a week earlier than normal. With highs of 28 degrees over the weekend we cut into our Syngenta Bazooka Barley. This is the first time we have grown hybrid Barley on the farm always favouring cassia previously. The dry conditions have undoubtedly impacted yields but still achieved a yield of 6.9 t/ha over the weigh bridge. Straw yields were equally as good with 3.2 tonnes hectare of straw achieved.

We have been using variable rate fertiliser applications for 3 years through IPF and have seen our yields increase.  I was excited at the announcement of IPF Contour being launched. One of the key selling points of contour is ease of use and many of the basic functions are free! We are subscribers to the service which includes FACTS account managers, VR mapping, prescribed plans etc. The most impressive tool we have used this year is the yield estimator which is said to be within 5%.

ContourYield predictor for our winter barley

The yield prediction for our Barley was 6.8 tonne per hectare showing the potential accuracy of the system! I’m looking forward to comparing the OSR and Winter Wheat predictions.

Upon cutting ours we heading over to 42 acres of Barley that we combine for a nearby farm. It was interesting to see the difference between Bazooka and Cassia grown on similar land types. I feel the hybrid has managed to weather the drought much better, with earlier growing vigor. The cassia looked to have fuller seeds but less of them. Will be interesting to see the weigh bridge yields.

Last week spelled the beginning of a never ending stream of calls for potential straw customers all keen to make deals with prices being banded around between £65 and £90 we settled somewhere in the middle with a dairy farmer over the Pennines. By working together and Baling our own straw we could ensure the right window of opportunity was taken to allow for combining and baling to be completed without any rain. The bales were collected from the field and prompt payment received.

New Holland Tractor with Claas baler

I have recently secured a further 80 acres of barley straw and 300 acres of wheat straw to ensure I can keep up with our customers requirements. We are still looking for Straw in swath deals around the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire area. Get in touch if you would be interested in selling any.

I suppose this brings me into our latest purchase! A DJI Mavic drone. As an avid follower of TFF (the farming forum) I always look for recommendations when making purchases. There is a wealth of knowledge from farmers and suppliers the length and breadth of the country and further afield. DJI appeared to be the drone of choice. A quick scout of the internet showed that the best deal to be had was at Amazon. Imagine my excitement when I realised I was in a prime now catchment area and I could have it delivered within 2 hours on a Sunday! In the basket it popped and patiently I waited for my allotted delivery window, I waited, I waited and I waited until the window had passed. Numerous calls later, nobody is any the wiser and it is recommended that I cancel the order and place it again! So – I try again in the basket it pops, delivery time set and I wait. This time the order is processed and I get a little notification and map appear which shows my order enroute. I can track it until the deivery driver arrives at the door! Brilliant. Order is delivered on time within 2 hours on a Sunday! I excitedly unpack the box and fire up the drone….. eagerly anticipating the first flight but wait…. the controller won’t turn on or charge. A quick google search highlights the controller batteries can be faulty! Nightmare. Onto amazon I go again and speak with customer services who advise the only option is to return it and wait for a refund which can take 5-7 days after they receive the item back. No replacement can be given as it was purchased using prime now! I am still waiting for someone to speak to me about this fantastic new prime now service although I suspect it won’t be forth coming.

That being said I ordered a replacement drone, which turned up and is amazing. It has been great to see crop variations across different land types and gain a real insight to how our harvest operations look. I have posted a couple of videos to our Facebook page and the link to that is here.

Here’s just a few images taken through our harvest so far.

In my next post I will be looking at next years variety choices.

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