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Growers are making progress again today after localised heavy showers last weekend (22/23 July) brought combines to a standstill in some areas.
Cambridgeshire farmer Richard Blackhurst said he is relieved that 10mm of rain in 10 minutes did not cause any pod shatter in the Expert oilseed rape he has left to cut. “No doubt if we’d got hail, it would have been a different matter.”
He is quite disappointed with yields so far, after 20ha of Excalibur did 3.9t/ha, Borneo 4.3t/ha and 14ha of Expert came in at 3.5t/ha. “We would have liked to be closer to 4.5t/ha.”
Around 18mm of rain in a couple of hours on Saturday plus a not overly-fit oilseed rape crop put combining on hold over the weekend for Andrew Mitchell, farm manager at Denton Farming Co. near Grantham, Lincolnshire.
“We’ve been kicking our heels since Friday. The glyphosate has struggled to take hold so we are waiting for it to die off.” Yields have been “pretty average” so far at around 3.75t/ha, he noted.
But it was fire, not rain that disrupted Philip Backhouse’s harvest in East Yorkshire. Six fire engines were called to put out a blaze on 8-9ha of “tinder dry” standing barley.
Despite that, he is pleased with progress so far, after Colossus broke the 10t/ha barrier on fertile soil.
Dorset-based Jim Goddard also said things were very dry and he expects to be cutting Optic spring barley in two days time.
“The weather’s been so hot we’ve been getting two days in one,” he said. “The barley was drilled early and had a good drink in May which looks as though it should see it through.”
In Surrey, Giles Porter reckoned that oilseed rape harvest was going “pretty well” considering crops went off faster than he would have liked.
“We’ve got about 350 acres left to do. Moistures were down to 5.5% when we started. But we had 7-8mm of rain on Saturday (22 July) which has brought it back to 9%.”
See FWi’s Harvest Highlights section for the regional reports in full and more from around the country, updated every day.