Good weather across much of the UK has enabled farmers to clear up the remnants of harvest in many places – although there still remains a considerable amount to do.
In Scotland, farmers in Aberdeenshire still had about 15% of their spring barley left to cut, but were very pleased with yields and quality, according to Gordon Booth at Aberdeen Grain.
“Most of it is Concerto and it’s held up well to the weather, although it has lodged in places – so fingers crossed the final tranche will be okay,” he said.
“Conditions underfoot are another concern now – it’s been wet since last Thursday and it’s overcast this week – it feels like the beginning of October not September.”
Further south, Guy Shelby had almost finished harvest at Benningholme Grange, Beverley, East Yorkshire, but was very disappointed with how it had gone.
“The weather has put a massive downer on it all,” he said. “Hurricane Bertha hammered the wheat down so that we lost a lot of heads on the floor, and yields in general are down after we had six inches of rain in May.
“Septoria has just crucified the crops. We didn’t make one application of fungicide when there wasn’t water standing in the tramlines.”
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In Herefordshire, Philip Gorringe was making good progress with harvest at Lower Blakemere Farm, Blakemere, Herefordshire, after a very late start.
“I’m in the last block of wheat today (8 September) and have just one more field of very late-drilled winter barley to do, which is a bit of a salvage job,” he said.
Having finished combining in October last year, Mr Gorringe had struggled to get this year’s crops drilled, and ended up sowing the Cassia winter barley in March.
“We cut one field last week, which yielded 7.4t/ha,” he said. “But this field, planted a week later, didn’t vernalise properly and will probably not do 1.2t/ha.”
Across in the East Midlands, wheat quality had held up well following the wet August, although ergot had been a problem, according to Guy Smith at Dalmark Grain.
“We’re still taking in dribs and drabs of wheat, as well as some beans – and we haven’t noticed any real decrease in Hagbergs or bushel weights,” he said.
But protein contents were averaging just over 12%, putting a lot of Group One varieties into the lower quality milling bracket.
In Berkshire, harvest had finally finished at Priors Farm, Newbury, Berkshire, and it had not been as bad as Richard Brown had expected.
“We finished contract combining at Sheepdrove, Lambourn, on Saturday and finished our own harvest yesterday,” he said.
This year the family partnership had cut more than 668ha, with Mr Brown doing 628ha of that himself. “That’s not bad for a geriatric. It hasn’t been a particularly special harvest, but it hasn’t been a disaster either.”