The rolling Fife field of Zulu wheat which has divided farming opinion across the region has yielded an average 4.57t/acre across its 32-acres.
Ironically, the official two-hectare sample area of the field at Banchory Farm near Kirkcaldy, which is the focus of a Yield Enhancement Network (Yen) trial and competition, yielded slightly less, at 4.11 t/acre.
Farm manager Craig Norrie, who participated in the Yen project after outstanding but uncorroborated yields in the same field last year, said he was satisfied with the results, given this season’s challenging growing conditions.
“We had the beast from the east’s low temperatures and winds then a long period of drought, so the weather made it difficult to come anywhere close to last year’s yields, but I’m happy enough.”
He added: “I didn’t need to use as many inputs, we didn’t use Roundup to burn off the crop because it ripened in dry weather, and it’s coming in drier than last year, so we’re saving money on fuel. And prices are higher this year, so that should compensate for 2017’s higher yields.
“What was very obvious this year was the huge variability in every field, with practically nothing coming off any rock heads where the crop died due to lack of moisture.
“I’ve never seen a season when the yield meter has changed so often from one part of the field to another.”
Collection and weighing of the official Yen sample grain was monitored by an independent agronomist and the farm’s John Deere T660 combine was calibrated by Ag Management Solutions specialist Alex Rearie of Netherton Tractors ahead of the crop being harvested.
“There have been hecklers in the past so we needed to prove that the reading was accurate,” he said.
The Yen trial entry was sponsored by Nickerson Seeds, whose local specialist Douglas Bonn said samples of grain and straw would now be analysed at the Adas laboratories in Cambridge to identify how the plants coped with the drought.
“The key thing about Yen is discovering how the actual yield has matched up to the potential yield,” he said. “We won’t know the results of that until mid-October.”