October is perhaps not the most conventional month for combining in the UK but for Soya it is something of a necessity and with 19° afternoons it felt like summer was back. The combine fired up on the 1st of October and finished on day two on the 3rd making this year another short and sweet affair that was over before we knew it.
A flush of weeds in mid-August, following a prolonged dry spell prompted me to apply Diquat pre-harvest to clean up the field and prepare for cutting. The application certainly aided combining and with the crop coming in at 12% we were able to achieve a very good sample.
The yields however, were somewhat disappointing. With no real rainfall to speak of from spring drilling until the end of July we had anticipated a reduction in yield. Walking around the crop I was often finding aborted seeds in the pod, having two instead of the usual three beans per pod.
Our average yield was coming in at 1t/ha, however interestingly our 660mm wide ‘skip row’ planted Soya achieved 2t/ha over the weighbridge. The ‘skip row’ concept is much like our 66cm row spacing, promoting the benefits of more space and better light interception into a crop by not planting every other row. Throughout the season we were excited by the ‘skip row’ field which had originally intended to be part of a companion crop trial, put on hold due to exceptionally dry weather. The signs were there, with it being 50% taller than its 330mm row spaced neighbours. Pods lined the ‘skip row’ crop from top to bottom, and the extra height aided a reduction in losses at the header as more pods were presented at a combinable height.
The uplift in yield between the two row spacings has been so pronounced it is certainly something I would like to put to the test further going forward. It makes all the difference having such a flexible drill as the Mzuri Pro-Til where row widths can be changed at the flick of a switch. The variety of coulter and row width configurations made possible by the Pro-Til gives us plenty of scope to experiment and gives us something to share in our farm diary!