Frustrating harvest in south Herts - Farmers Weekly

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Frustrating harvest in south Herts

Harvest was going “intermittently” for Tim Whitehead at Vines Farm, Royston, having to catch some combining in between showers. “We’ve been combining for half an hour now but heavy rain is forecast. It’s frustrating as there’s only four more days combining needed.”

Yields were average from 420ha (1050ac) of winter wheat cut from his total area of 550ha (1375ac). Nijinsky, Zebedee, Robigus, Xi19 and Hereward averaged 9.5-11t/ha (3.8-4.4t/ac) which was slightly up on last year.

“Yields very much mirror the soil type. Very good moisture retentive soil yielded very well, but the less good soil yielded poorly.”

Robigus suffered most from the drought, with bushel weights of 75kg/hl. “I don’t think the variety can cope with hot, dry weather.” Hereward was at 81kg/hl so he said specific weights were “all over the place”.

Some of the wheat had been sold forward on a contract dependent on the quality. “If this weather carries on I shall be concerned for the quality of the crops.”

• Crop: Winter wheat
• Variety: Nijinsky, Zebedee, Robigus, Xi19, Hereward
• Area: 420ha cut of 550ha
• Yield: Average 9.5-11t/ha
• Quality: Bushel weights Robigus 75kg/hl, Hereward 81kg/hl

Frustrating harvest in South Herts

Tim Whitehead from Royston, South Hertfordshire said things are “a bit frustrating” having only cut for four days in the past 10. He said yields are very average at 9.8t/ha, but concerns are for bushel weights.

He was surprised Xi19 yielded the same as Robigus, although the crop suffered from a little ergot. Claire sown on light land did well this year, while Robigus yields were slightly disappointing, he said. Hereward met milling specification, although he said Hagbergs were slightly low.

Mr Whitehead said the bushel weight is coming down which has a price implication, and so is concerned for the quality of the remaining 80ha. All quality wheat was cut before the rain, although he is concerned for the land becoming too wet to work on.

Harvest progress is ahead of last year, when he had 50% left to cut on Aug 28, compared to 20% remaining today (Aug 25), he added.

  • Crop/Variety: Xi19, Claire, Robigus, Hereward winter wheat
  • Area: 430ha
  • Yield: 9.8 – 9.9t/ha
  • Quality: Bushel weights low, Hagbergs slightly low, but quality generally good
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