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Growers are finding harvest is earlier than usual this season as they continue to eat through large swathes of barley and oilseed rape in the fine, hot summer weather.
But concern is growing for wheat yields and later crops suffering in the heat-wave.
Lincolnshire farmer Ben Atkinson said harvest was at least a week ahead, and expected to start cutting wheat as soon as he had finished oilseed rape. His yields were variable across soil types and the dry conditions were taking a toll on machinery.
Brian Mummery was surprised to be starting harvest so early this year in Canterbury, considering he had never started before 22 July. But he said only “bits and pieces” had been cut in the area, mainly because crops had not ripened evenly.
Norfolk farmer Cliff Armsby expected to start combining winter wheat within a fortnight, which would be ahead of schedule. However the heat meant wheat was starting to go off. “Some of the wheat is not really holding out.” But his Pearl winter barley yielded 0.5t/ha up on last year at 6.25t/ha.
His concerns about crops going off too quickly were shared by Yorkshire farmer David Hinchcliffe who said harvest would be running a few days ahead of last year. “We started cutting wheat in August last year, but we should have some cut in July this year.”
Find out how Farmers Weekly’s barometer growers are getting on with harvest in our new Barometers’ Blog
See FWi’s Harvest Highlights section for the regional reports in full and more from around the country, updated every day.