Harvest round-up: A finish in sight? - Farmers Weekly

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Harvest round-up: A finish in sight?

Many farmers are making the most of decent weather conditions to get next year’s crops in the ground – but others continue to battle through harvest.

In the week to 2 September, unsettled weather slowed combining progress to 300,000ha, bringing the total harvest to 85% complete, according to the latest HGCA / ADAS report.

“Over the past week most crops harvested required drying, with moisture contents of cereal crops averaging 17%,” it said.

Harvest progress was now on par with the five-year average, although winter wheat harvest was ahead of normal at 90% complete, and yields remained above average at 8.4-8.6t/ha.

In Hampshire, Tim Sykes’ harvest was all done and dusted at Denmead Farm, Waterlooville, after an excellent year for most crops.

Although the winter linseed was very disappointing, the spring linseed was much more pleasing at 2.2t/ha.

“The winter crop was hopeless, and it’s difficult to pinpoint the key reason, but at least the spring linseed came out where it should have been,” he said.

See also: All the news, videos and harvest resources on our Harvest Highlights page.

Further north, Andrew Baker was also busy preparing for next year’s harvest at Foxes Farm, Creeting St Mary, Ipswich, Suffolk, after a very good year.

The 150ha of Horatio, Solo, JB Diego and Cordiale winter wheat yielded 10t/ha.

“It’s the best wheat crop we’ve had in a long while, coming off at around 12-14% moisture,” he said.

However, across near Worcester, Andrew Goodman had had a frustrating time with the wet weather at Walgrove Farm.

“The weather has made for a difficult harvest, with the combine stop-start throughout the past few weeks,” he said.

Yields had been unexciting as well, with Cocoon winter wheat yielding 8t/ha. “It’s pretty average and the straw quality wasn’t great either.”

In sharp contrast, Andrew Peddie had seen record yields across the board at Cornceres Farm, Anstruther, Fife, having finished combining yesterday (3 September).

The 40ha of Volume and Glacier winter barley yielded over 9.8t/ha according to the combine scales, although official results were still to be confirmed.

Compass and Cracker oilseed rape were also extremely pleasing. “Cracker reached around 4t/ha and Compass slightly more – it was the star on yields,” he said.

Harvest round-up: A finish in sight

Harvest is making swift progress, with the dry weather enabling many farmers to finish combining and move onto autumn fieldwork.

In Hereford, Jamie Rogers had got just two days’ combining left to do at White Hall Farm, Hampton Bishop.

“We’ve finished the winter wheat and spring rape, and started spring barley today (2 September),” he said. “The spring wheat isn’t quite ready, but will be by the time we get to it.”

First wheats had yielded close to the five-year average, at 10t/ha – but second wheats that were drilled late into poor conditions were not as good, he added.

Across in Lincolnshire, Jim Beeden had made rapid progress with harvest at Hackthorn Farms, Welton, with everything now cut bar Fuego spring beans.

“We’ve started the beans, and so far they’re yielding 4.25t/ha – but by tonight we’ll have cut everything that’s fit,” he said.

Santiago and Diego wheat on strong land yielded 9.5-10t/ha, with January-drilled wheat averaging 7.5t/ha and Zircon spring wheat 7-7.5t/ha. “We’re pretty pleased with that.”

Further north, Michael Manners had finished harvest at Conicliffe Grange, Staindrop, Darlington, and was pretty pleased with his yields.

“Considering how bad it looked earlier on, we’re really quite happy,” he said. “It’s been a pain swapping from wheat to oilseed rape and back all the time, but with the decent weather, harvest has really been pretty easy.”

In Scotland, Sandy Norrie was having an excellent harvest at A J Duncan’s Muirden Farm, Turriff, Aberdeenshire, having cut more than three-quarters of the combinable crops.

Above-average yields across the board, combined with decent harvesting weather, were making this year an absolute pleasure, he said.

“It’s like chalk and cheese compared to last year – we’re combining at 16-17% moisture compared to 36-37% last year. And we’re a good four weeks ahead.”

In KWS product development trials, winter barleys had produced some very high yields, with some varieties topping 12t/ha.

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