Every grower will be anxiously waiting for the first combines to roll to give some indication of how the drought has affected yields in barley, oilseed rape and wheat crops.

The first winter barley crop harvested by David Holt, near Ashford in Kent, last week showed a 22% drop in yield in his Carat feed barley from last year, coming in at 7t/ha. Is this a sign of things to come, or will other crops hold up well?

Growers will also be keen to look at how old and new varieties alike have performed on farm this season, and in HGCA Recommended List trials. Have hybrid oilseed rape and winter barley varieties performed better than conventional varieties with their supposed extra vigour? Has Sesame done the business in the field, despite some reports of poor-looking crops? And will Oakley keep its barn-filling reputation?

You can find out the answers to all those questions by following our unique harvest service online, Harvest Highlights, and in Farmers Weekly magazine. It will allow you to follow harvest 2011 as it unfolds, with regular updates on yield and quality.

But to bring you the best information, we need your help. The more information you can feed through to Farmers Weekly, the better our coverage will be. There are many ways to get involved:


Phone and email

Contact Farmers Weekly‘s harvest correspondent Olivia Cooper by calling her on 01392 840009 or by emailing olivia.cooper@btinternet.com. Olivia will be compiling daily reports from growers on their yields and progress from around the country, so if you want to share how pleased you are with a top yielding crop, or let others know your frustration about a broken-down combine or weather-enforced stoppage, then get in touch. Olivia’s reports will be posted daily at www.fwi.co.uk/harvesthighlights


Twitter

twitter thumbThis is a service that enables you to send short messages through the internet or from a smart phone. You’ll first need to set up a Twitter account, but this only takes a minute at www.twitter.com. Once registered, you can post a message from the web or your mobile about how things are going and if you include the word #harvestuk we can pick this up automatically, and display in our Twitter feed on the Harvest Highlights web page.


Yield Watch

New for this season, we will monitor wheat yields from across the country. Launched later this month, Yield Watch will ask growers to fill in a simple form, from which we will calculate average yields by variety. Watch out for more details soon at www.fwi.co.uk/harvesthighlights


Progress chart

We will also monitor harvest progress across the country, using your assessment of progress displayed in a farmer-generated chart. Update the chart frequently to give the best measure of progress.


Photos

You can upload your harvest photos directly to our Harvest Highlights picture gallery at www.fwi.co.uk/harvestpictures2011 or email them to fwipictures@rbi.co.uk. Please include a caption, including when and where the picture was taken, the variety and yield. We will also be running our competition where the best picture, judged by a panel, will appear on the front cover of Farmers Weekly.


Video

YouTube thumbUpload your harvest videos to YouTube, tag them with the word #harvestuk and we will search for them and display them on FWi. You could also email a link to fwipictures@rbi.co.uk


Facebook

facebook thumbWe’re even on Facebook this year. ‘Like’ our Farmers Weekly Harvest Highlights page at www.facebook.com/harvesthighlights and see the pick of the harvest pictures from our gallery, and follow all the latest updates.