Understanding futures markets can pay dividends
Setting of winter barley finished at the weekend. My winter barley acreage will be up from 130ac to 200ac for next year. Yields this year were excellent, with an average of 3.7t/ac.
I set a mixture of early-, mid- and late-maturing varieties in order to spread next year's harvest over a few weeks. I went with the six-row early Sequel, mid-season Leibniz and the later-maturing Cassia.
I intend to sow winter oats on contract for Flahavans this week. I'm increasing acreage from 80ac to 130ac, even though my entire crop was burnt by frost last year. I'm taking a chance that this winter won't be as severe as last year.
I looked at the Mascani, Dalguise and Tardis true winter oat varieties but their quality was not good enough to convince me to use them. Mascani, even though it is a winter variety, was still killed by the frost last year and the spring variety Circle also got burned out. Husky is my main choice for next year because it performed well despite the cold conditions last winter. It yielded exceptionally well when sown last spring, with bushel weights of 63kph.
I will sow some oats this autumn on south-facing high ground, but I will hold off sowing the lower ground in the valley until spring because if we do get severe frost, it will be worse there.
My wheat acreage is down from 130ac to 100ac for next year, purely for rotational reasons. I have given up on continuous wheat because the difference between first wheat and continuous wheat was about 1t/ac when I did the figures.
The continuous wheat fields averaged 3.5t/ac, while the first wheat crops did 4.5t/ac. That's a big difference. My wheat will consist of Grafton, JB Diego and the English variety Invicta, which is not on the Department of Agriculture's recommended list but I like it.