The Met Office issued no fewer than 15 weather warnings for heavy rain across the country today (28 August), although a lucky few managed to keep on combining.
In Shropshire, Richard Solari had been rained off at Heath House Farm, Beckbury, but had managed to cut 60% of his wheat so far.
His Oakley and Santiago had averaged a disappointing 7.4t/ha, with some as bad as 6.2t/ha and most at 8t/ha. “Bushel weights were down, at 66-70kg/hl,” he said.
“But I’ve heard some horror stories, so I am complaining one minute and grateful the next.”
Harvest was proving extremely trying for Glen Sanderson at Eshott South Farm, Felton, Northumberland, with torrential rain and flooding over the weekend.
“It’s miserable – we’re all getting really grumpy and fed up,” he said.
“It’s definitely the worst harvest we’ve ever had, as it’s a triple whammy: Not only is it wet, but we’ve got really poor yields and penalties for low bushel weights.”
Wheat yields and quality were also the worst Peter Kendall could remember at Church Farm, Sandy, Bedfordshire, but he knew he had been luckier than some.
“In our part of the world on heavy land, yields have been down by 25%, and quality is very poor,” he said.
“Crops that were looking to be so full of potential two months ago have struggled to do 7.4t/ha as a first wheat, and I’m starting to dislike harvest with a vengeance.”
In Cornwall, Martin Howlett was thankful to have his antiquated combine at Deer Park Farm, Callington, Cornwall, as he had been able to pick days to harvest between the showers.
“It’s been a frustrating time – we decided to get on with hay making and silaging in the dry weather at the end of July, so didn’t start combining winter barley until about three weeks ago.
“But at least I’ve had my own combine – albeit an old one – as I’ve been able to choose the best days to get on.”
At the other end of the country, Stuart Davidson was still trying to cut winter barley at Cassigill Farm, Ellon, Aberdeenshire, after another week of intermittent harvesting and drilling.
“We are down to about 60ha of winter barley to cut,” he said. “Yields are hovering around 7t/ha, with Escadre performing the best in both yield and specific weights,” he said.
“In general, specific weights have been very disappointing this year – in the range of 57-61kg/hl off the combine – which is not surprising given the season.”