Harvest roundup: Friday - Farmers Weekly

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Harvest roundup: Friday

This week’s fine weather has enabled combines to emerge for the first time across much of the country, with winter barley and oilseed rape crops finally underway. 

Harvest was about 10 days later than normal but winter barley was now in full swing across southern and eastern areas, said a report by the HGCA.

“This may be one of the latest starts to harvest in recent years, with only an estimated 2-3% harvested up to Tuesday 24 July, compared to an average of 30% and an earliest of 75% at the same stage.”

Winter barley yields were about average so far, although early aphid Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus damage was causing some concern, said David Neale, national agronomist at Agrii.

With yields averaging about 7.4t/ha, and wheat and spring barley looking particularly poor, winter barley could be the crop of the year, he added.

That was certainly the case at William Cumber’s Manor Farm, Marcham, Oxfordshire, where yields had been surprisingly good.

“Our winter barley is on some of the most drought-prone sand imaginable,” he said.

“Last year’s yields were among the worst ever, but this year our worst field has done 7t/ha, with the best at 8.4t/ha.”

Sesame oilseed rape had also yielded well, apart from 6ha that was flooded for two weeks in May and failed completely.

Harvest was also well underway at Trerule Farm, Saltash, Cornwall, where Jon Bond had just started cutting Castille oilseed rape.

“I’d like to make a big hole in it before it rains again,” he said. “It looks quite promising at the moment, but I’m not sure it’s all fit.

“About half wasn’t desiccated because it was too far on – the other half I’ve sprayed off to even it up.”

At the other end of the country, James Walby was dodging the wet fields to combine winter barley today (27 July) at East House Farm, near Ponteland, Northumberland.

“We started on Monday (23 July), which is a bit later than normal,” he said. “The forecast isn’t very good, which is why we’re cracking on now.”

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For all harvest news go to our Harvest Highlights 2012 page.

Harvest roundup: Friday

Harvest continues to make good progress across the country, despite occasional showers in some areas.

In Essex, Tim Cooper started combining winter wheat at Spring Farm, Wix, yesterday (28 July), with mixed results.

“It’s not too exciting, but it’s not disastrous either. However, we’ve got worse to come,” he said.

The 8ha (20 acres) of Solstice came off at 7t/ha (2.8t/acre) at 16% moisture.

Early samples of milling wheat were showing good quality, with high specific weights and good proteins, according to Gleadell Agriculture.

“It is early days and too soon to make any big statements, but so far so good, and yields are not as bad as feared,” said managing director David Sheppard.

Many farmers were reporting record oilseed rape yields, with about 35% of the UK crop now harvested.

Price risk consultant Offre & Demande Agricole (ODA) said its British clients’ crops were better than anticipated, with average rapeseed yields 3.7% higher than last year.

But in Lincolnshire, Chris Hewis’s yields at The Grange, Habrough, came in slightly below his five-year average.

Expower, which had already been sold and moved, averaged 4.3t/ha (1.76t/acre), with Excalibur likely to have done the same, he said. “It’s all been cut below 9% moisture, which was pleasing.”

John Moss was similarly pleased in Cornwall, where he had had a fantastic start to harvest at Howton Farm, Saltash, and on nearby contracted farms.

“We managed to get some Maris Otter in before the rain, which yielded a good average and made the malting grade.”

Winter barley was better than expected, and oilseed rape yields had been excellent, he said. “I’ve never known such good yields of rapeseed.”

European harvest should resume this weekend, after rain caused further delays this week, according to analyst Agritel.

“Rapeseed harvests should soon reach an end. They confirm an increase in yields compared to expectations, and quality is satisfactory.”

As farmers resumed wheat harvest they would be able to assess the impact of the rain on quality, said it’s latest report.

Harvest roundup: Friday

Farmers are combining in some parts of the country again today (22 July), and hopes are high for a more settled week ahead.

In Gloucestershire, Joe Edwards was combining oilseed rape today at Boddington Estates, Tewkesbury.

“The rain has gone all around us, but we’re in a bit of a rain shadow here and have missed it, so I’ve been combining for the past couple of days,” he said.

“We’re more than halfway through our oilseed rape now and I’m really pleased with it.”

In Hampshire, Tim Sykes also hoped to be combining later at Denmead Farm, Waterlooville, after a week of being rained off.

“We cut 21ha (53 acres) of Cabernet last Friday, which did very well indeed, for a variety that’s supposed to be finished and unreliable. It looked fantastic throughout, and yielded 4.7t/ha (1.9t/acre).”

Masstock agronomist David Neale believed oilseed rape was going to be the crop of the year this harvest, with excellent yields already recorded.

“Even in the droughty areas the rape has performed better than I would have thought, at 3.3-3.5t/ha (1.3-1.4t/acre) in the eastern counties. If that’s the worst, then it’s pretty good.

“Without question, a lot of the hybrids are going to give the best results. I’m very optimistic, provided we get some fine weather.”

The Met Office was forecasting a better weekend, with more settled weather to follow next week.

As a result, Gerald Godfrey was cutting grass silage today at Great Common Farm, Beccles, Suffolk, leaving his oilseed rape to cut over the weekend.

So far, the Astrid, cut at between 9.2% and 11% moisture, had yielded a pleasing 4.7t/ha (1.9t/acre).

Jonathan Lane, trading manager at Gleadell Agriculture, also maintained that rape yields so far were very good.

“We have subsequently revised our crop estimates back up to 2.5m tonnes, giving us a significant exportable surplus.”

But farmers had cut just 2% of the rapeseed area by Thursday (21 July), said the HGCA. And winter barley harvest was about 5% complete, with yields ranging from 4t/ha to 9.8t/ha (1.6-4t/acre).

“Yields are variable and unlikely to be representative of the national crop, given that many of the earliest crops are on lighter land in the regions most affected by the dry spring.”

Harvest roundup: Friday

Farmers have been combining as much as possible today (15 July), ahead of forecast rains over the weekend.

In Essex, harvest was well underway at Sandon Lodge Farm, Chelmsford, where Richard Spackman had been combining oilseed rape and winter barley.

So far the Cassia barley had yielded 7.25t/ha (2.9t/acre), despite having grown on very hot, gravelly land.

Grandia, Dimension, Castille and Excalibur oilseed rape yields ranged from 1t/ha to 5t/ha (0.4-2t/acre), depending on the soil type.

Alan Cook had also been cutting oilseed rape at Windwhistle Farms, Romsey, Hampshire, and was pleased with yields so far.

“It’s been running very well – yields are much higher than average.” So far he had cut Grandia at 4.35t/ha (1.8t/acre), Astrid at 4.7t/ha (1.9t/ac) and Cabernet, which was somewhat lighter.

In Wiltshire, harvest was still about a week away at Ashton Farms, Trowbridge, and crops looked extremely variable.

Arable manager Martin Smart said he expected to combine Excalibur oilseed rape next week, with trial varieties about a week after that.

“I can’t wait to get the combine into the trial varieties – they look so good, I’m like a kid in a toyshop.”

Across the Channel, French wheat yields were not as bad as feared, with rainfall in June proving beneficial.

As a result, Strategie Grains had increased its estimate for EU-27 grain production by 6.6m tonnes, to 282.3m tonnes.
Oilseed rape yields in France and Germany were also better than expected, said Jonathan Lane at Gleadell Agriculture.

“But rain in southeast Europe and the Black Sea area is hindering harvest and could cut yield potential in these regions.”

Generally, grain yields in the Black Sea were higher than last year, despite damage from recent rain.

In Ukraine, the Ministry of Agriculture said 6.9m tonnes of grains had been harvested by 12 July, from 2.4m ha – 21% of the forecast area.

Harvest roundup: Friday

Harvest is getting slowly underway across southern and eastern England, and yields are proving extremely variable.

Patrick May started combining winter barley at Beech Tree Farm, Westonzoyland, Somerset, on Sunday (3 July), and was pleased with yields so far.

“We delivered our first load of winter barley to store at Cannington Grain on Monday. We have only missed one year in about 15 years as their first delivery of the season by tractor and trailer,” he said.

Winter barley yields were also good at Pitney, Somerset, and wheat crops looked better than expected, said contractor Tony Higgins.

He had cut winter barley at 14% moisture, ranging from 8-8.65t/ha (3-3.5t/acre).  “The yields were impressive considering the very dry conditions experienced over the growing season.”

However, at Needham Hall Farm, Gazeley, Suffolk, Flagon winter barley yields were very disappointing, said Mark Turner.

“The yield was rubbish, at just 4.4t/ha (1.8t/acre) – it just died off due to the drought.”

Guy Smith said he expected to start combining oilseed rape at Wigborowick Farm, St Osyth, Essex, on Monday (11 July), and didn’t know how his crops would yield.

“We were on the brink of disaster, but we had three inches of rain in June. I’ve never known a harvest that is so difficult to call.”

In Cambridgeshire, oilseed rape looked well at Brian and Adam Horsfield’s Great Wilbraham Hall Farm, Balsham.

“We should be starting on that next week. It established really well with the subsoiler, and is looking very good.”

An inch of rain today (8 July) meant harvest was also yet to start at Tim Lock’s Houghton Farm, Arundel, Sussex.

“We’d like to be underway, but we’ve now got Monday pencilled in to start on Sequel winter barley, if we get a decent weekend.”

In Dorset, crops looked extremely well at J.V. Farming Ltd, Martinsdown, Dorchester, but harvest was still at least a week away.

“We’ve got nothing to complain about in Dorset, compared to farmers further east,” said operations manager Tim Merry.

Harvest roundup: Friday

A wet week has kept combines in north Scotland under wraps, but a better forecast could allow some progress this weekend.

Richard Stephen still had 60ha (150 acres) of wheat to cut at Muirton of Barra, Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire.

“We had a lot of rain yesterday (23 September) – we’re behind with the sowing and it’s too wet to get potatoes as well. The forecast is a bit better now, but it will take a bit of drying up.”

Farmers in the Inverness area had still got about 5% of their winter wheat and spring barley to cut, according to Simon Barry at Highland Grain. 

“That hasn’t changed for over a week, because of the wet weather. Unfortunately, the quality is going to be questionable as far as malting is concerned. I would think it will now end up as feed.”

In the Borders, John Jeffrey had still got spring beans to combine at Kersknowe Farm, Kelso, but had finished cereal harvest.

“It’s been an absolute curate’s egg – the winter barley was very poor at 6.4t/ha (2.6t/acre) – the six-row Pelican was awful. But the Pearl all made malting, which just about made up for it.”

Further south, Philip Gorringe had finished harvest at Lower Blakemere Farm, Blakemere, Herefordshire, and was reasonably pleased with yields.

“We finished on Wednesday – and we’re very happy to have done so, given the rain we’ve had over the past two days.”

September was also proving a difficult month for farmers in Co. Down, Northern Ireland, said Graham Furey from Castleview, Killyleagh.

“There is still probably 10-15% of harvest to do in our area. Most of it is spring barley, although there is some late sown winter wheat, too.”

However, cereal quality across Great Britain was above the three-season average so far, according to provisional results from HGCA’s annual Cereals Quality Survey.

As of 17 September, wheat Hagberg Falling Numbers averaged 291 seconds, the highest since 2006.

Protein averaged 12.2%, with specific weights at 77.3kg/hl, the highest since 2003.

Harvest roundup: Friday

Potato harvest is underway, but farmers are still finishing up cereal crops across the country.

In Herefordshire, Philip Gorringe cut 200t of wheat yesterday (9 September) at Lower Blakemere Farm, Blakemere, but still had wheat and peas to combine.

“We had a very good day yesterday – the majority of it was under 16% moisture, and although everyone was thinking it would be disastrous, the quality of the seed is fine.”

Russell Fraser finished cereal harvest on 11 August at Tiln Farms, Retford, Nottinghamshire, and was now about to start lifting potatoes and carrots.

“It was a strange harvest – we started the earliest ever, on 8 July, and I was expecting everything to be burnt off.

“But the Suzuka winter barley did over 7.4t/ha (3t/acre), which was a very pleasant surprise.”

Michael Manners had finished wheat harvest at Conicliffe Grange, Staindrop, Darlington, and had made a start on lifting potatoes.

“We had very little rain until this week – it was just enough to stop us combining but not enough to do the potatoes any good – it was very frustrating.”

In Northumberland, Carl Tuer was combining the last strip of winter wheat at Rock Farms, Alnwick, Northumberland, today.

“It’s been a very good harvest – we are absolutely delighted with yields.” First wheat averaged almost 11.1t/ha (4.5t/acre), with some Viscount producing over 12.3t/ha (5t/acre).

Further north, Jim Cargill had finished cereal harvest at Coldstream Farm, Fettercairn, Aberdeenshire, but was disappointed with yields.

“We finished on Monday and it has rained ever since then, so we finished just in time. But yields weren’t very exciting.”

He was now lifting potatoes, but said there was still wheat and barley to cut in the area.


Harvest roundup: Friday

Farmers are finishing combining wheat in many parts of England, leaving just beans and linseed to clear up.

In Warwickshire, Will Hemus finished combining wheat at Wheatcroft Farm, Nuneaton, yesterday (2 September), leaving spring beans to do.

“It is a relief to have finished wheat – we’ve had the best combining we’ve had all harvest over the past few days.

“We may have lost a bit of bushelweight, but it had only sprouted where it had been knocked down.”

Paul Temple finished harvest at Wold Farm, Driffield, Yorkshire, on Wednesday, after a relatively easy run.

“We were lucky as we avoided the worst of the weather, so it was really quite straightforward.”

But in Lincolnshire, Chris Hewis hadn’t started combining wheat at The Grange, Habrough, although quality still looked fine.

“It’s been a very frustrating harvest – it feels like ages ago that we started. We have been really hampered by the rain and waiting for crops to ripen.”

So far he was about 65% through harvest, with most people in the area about 75% through.

Harvest was two to three days behind normal at Doug Fowlie’s Millhill Farm, Longside, Aberdeenshire, but was now progressing well.

“It’s a beautiful day today and it’s all going well. The Zebedee wheat is very early and we cut it before the spring barley – we’ve never done that before.”

In Surrey, Giles Porter hoped to finish combining beans at Penn Croft Farms, Farnham, today, leaving just 30ha (74 acres) of linseed to cut.

“The Wizard beans have been pretty ropey – they just died out too early, although on the heavier ground they are better.

“There has been a definite split on the yield maps – the wheat on the gravel did less than 7.4t/ha (3t/acre), while on the good ground it was 9.4t/ha (3.8t/acre).”

Harvest roundup: Friday

Farmers have been combining late into the night to get crops off before more rain arrives, and quality remains good so far.

In Essex, Tim Cooper hoped to finish harvest this evening (20 August) at Spring Farm, Wix.

“We’ve been getting on reasonably well – we’ve had a few late nights this week as we wanted to finish before the rain, forecast for the weekend.

“Yields have been poor because of the drought, which was expected – they are about 15% down.”

Joe Scott was two-thirds of the way through harvest at Ashby Ledger Farms, Rugby, Warwickshire, and wheat yields were about average.

 “Most of it is having to be dried as it comes in. It’s too wet to be combining today, but we have drilled 150ha (370 acres) of oilseed rape now.”

Wheat harvest was about 40-50% through near Brandsby, Yorkshire, and yields had been all over the place, said contractor Keith Snowball.

Overnight showers had put wheat at 18% today. “I don’t think we’ll be into wheat today – I might do some more oilseed rape.”

Further south, Edward Whitfield had finished combining milling wheat at Gibbs Farm, Spalding, Lincolnshire, but yields and protein content were disappointing.

“We got all the milling wheat in before the last lot of rain. Yields haven’t been very good because it was on light land.”

Cordiale ranged from 4.9t/ha (2t/acre) on light gravel, up to 8.6t/ha (3.5t/acre) on better soils. But protein was low, at 11.5-13%. “I don’t understand why.”

In Kent, Brian Mummery was two thirds of the way through harvest at Great Pett Farm, Canterbury, with just spring wheat left to cut.

“The Paragon wheat looks okay – it will be ready next week.”

Harvest roundup: Friday

Parts of the country continue to suffer from drought, but combines in the west of England remain under wraps due to another wet harvest.

In Cornwall, Mike Hambly was enduring his fourth wet harvest on the trot at Wescott Barton, Callington, with winter barley brackling over and some wheat going flat.

“It’s just unbelievable – the rest of the country is in drought, and here it is just wet all the time – it’s been diabolical.”

Harvest was also a stop-start affair at Paul Bird’s Flashbrook Grange, Newport, Shropshire.

Showers continue to frustrate attempts at combining, and 4ha (10 acres) of winter barley straw cut three weeks ago was still on the ground.

Saffron winter barley had yielded about average at 7.4t/ha (3t/acre), and the Astrid oilseed rape cut so far was better than normal, at 4.9t/ha (2t/acre).

Oilseed rape yielded a massive 1t/ha (0.4t/acre) above the five-year average at Tom Allen-Stevens’ Wicklesham Farm, Faringdon, Oxfordshire.

However, wheat was not looking so good. “We’re currently cutting Cordiale on some brash and have revised overall estimates down from 8.7t/ha (3.5t/acre) to nearer 7t/ha (2.8t/acre).”

Winter wheat yields were also disappointing at Genevieve Farms in Norfolk, but the best looking crops were still to come, said farm manager Kevin Hayhoe.

So far the Viscount and Oakley at Abbey Farm, Felthorpe, Norfolk, had yielded well below the farm average, at 5.9t/ha (2.4t/acre) and 7.4t/ha (3t/acre), respectively.

“The later crops do look better – but goodness knows what they would have been like if we hadn’t irrigated at all.”

In Kent, wheat yields were 10% below average on the uplands at Clive Apps’ Boxted Lodge Farm, Romney.

However, oilseed rape, which Mr Apps was finishing combining today (6 August), was yielding better than average.

And British-bred rapeseed variety Osprey proved very pleasing for Ernie Chambers at Lode Way Farm, Haddenham, Cambridgeshire, yielding 5.9t/ha (2.38t/acre).

“We only had 10 acres (4ha), but it stood about 6ft tall – it would smother Christmas trees let alone blackgrass, and it’s left some long stubble.”

Oil content was also high, at 44.5%.

Don’t forget – you can text us about yourharvest progress on 07537 402 287. Start your message with“fwharvest”

Harvest roundup: Friday

Showers are frustrating many attempts at harvesting, and yields, for many, are proving disappointing.

In Cornwall, John Moss only started cutting winter barley at Howton Farm, Pillaton, Saltash, on Monday (26 July). “We have never started so late.

“This time last year we had finished the winter barley and most of the oilseed rape.”

Now winter barley, oilseed rape, wheat and crimped wheat were all ready in the same week. “I have never known that happen before.”

John Beslee’s combine was rolling through winter wheat at Hook Green Farm, Southfleet, Kent, and yields were disappointing.

“It is not very good at all – we had a really dry time after a very cold winter, and our crops are going to be a lot lighter this year.”

In Nottinghamshire, Chris Cockayne was also combining winter wheat at Top Brackendale Farm, Cropwell Butler, with oilseed rape not yet ready.

“We tried some spring barley, but that wasn’t ripe either. But the Gallant wheat is not a good crop – we are very disappointed in the yield.”

However, quality was excellent, with protein at over 13% and bushelweights at 77-78kg/hl.

Spring barley yields were below average at Little Farms, Saffron Waldon, Essex, having been affected by the lack of rain.

So far Carl Juhl had only cut some Concerto, at about 7.2t/ha (2.9t/acre), and Publican, at around 6.7t/ha (2.7t/acre).

“Our oilseed rape is not ready yet – I think we may even be into the wheat before the rape at the moment, which is very unusual,” he said.

In Berkshire, Innes McEwan had cut the first of his oilseed rape at Jealott’s Hill Farm, Bracknell, Berkshire, and reckoned it was the best crop of the lot.

“I don’t expect to be bettering any yield averages across the farm this year, given the poor growing season.”

However, in Scotland, harvest was going very smoothly at James Grant-Suttie’s Balgone Farms, North Berwick, East Lothian.

“Unusually for us, we’re amongst the early starters this year – there are not many combines going around us,” he said.

The Cassata winter barley was yielding pretty well at a comfortable 8.4t/ha (3.4t/acre) – leaving 32ha (80 acres) to finish off before moving into oilseed rape.

“The spring barley and wheat will probably come in mid-August, as usual.”

Don’t forget – you can text us about your harvest progress on 07537 402 287. Start your message with “fwharvest”

Harvest roundup: Friday

Combines are likely to be out in force over the weekend, with mainly dry weather forecast and many crops almost ready to cut.

Harvest was progressing well at Bob Clabon’s Rookery Farm, North Walsham, Norfolk, despite being rained off yesterday afternoon (22 July).

So far he had cut 60ha (148 acres) of Flagon winter barley, which had yielded 7-7.5t/ha (2.8-3t/acre) – about average for the farm.

In Kent, Robert Maylam was disappointed with his oilseed rape yields at Bilting Grange, Ashford.

“We haven’t put it over a weighbridge yet, but I’m guessing it was just a shade over 2.5t/ha (1t/acre), which is pretty poor.”

Yields were slightly below the five-year average at Oliver Walston’s Thriplow Farm, Cambridge, where he had finished combining oilseed rape.

The 120ha (296 acres) of Excalibur and Castille averaged 3.2t/ha (1.3t/acre). “For the first time in a decade nothing has had to go through the drier,” he said.

But further west, oilseed rape was taking a long time to ripen, frustrating farmers in Gloucestershire, where many crops would be ready to combine at the same time.

Ian Branstone said he was likely to make a start on cutting winter oats at Bourton Hill Farm, Bourton-on-the-Water, on Monday (26 July).

“I went to all the trouble of putting the oilseed rape extensions and side bar on the combine, and now I’ve got to take them all off because the oats have come first – they’ve just died off.”

Chris Padfield was also itching to start combining at The Hawthorns, Staunton, Gloucestershire.

“I’ll be into winter linseed at the end of next week, when the oilseed rape and the Cordiale winter wheat will also be ready. It’s all going to come at once.”

Oilseed rape was not fit at Tim Morris’s Coneygar Farm, Cirencester, and his winter barley had proved disappointing with yields between 6.2t/ha and 7.4t/ha (2.5-3t/acre).

“It was the first time we’ve grown it for about 15 years, and it confirmed my previous belief that it wasn’t worth growing,” he said.

Harvest roundup: Friday

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Combines are charging through crops up and down the country, making the most of the welcome dry spell.

In Morayshire, Martin Bridges was busy combining today (11 September), and hoped to finish by the end of the weekend.

“We had three inches of rain in 36 hours last week, but it’s dried up well,” he said. Gales on Tuesday helped to dry crops and ground conditions out further, but did cause more crop damage.

Harvest was also back underway at Jim Whiteford’s Shandwick Mains, Tain, Inverness, after a week without combining due to heavy rain.

“Harvest resumed on Wednesday with vengeance,” he said. “The high pressure sitting on us promises us days of good weather, which are much needed.”

Paul Temple had finished harvest at Wold Farm, Driffield, East Yorkshire, having escaped lightly with the wet weather.

“We have been fortunate – we escaped the worst of the weather, and have even baled the straw in good condition,” he said.

Harvest was almost finished in Wiltshire, with just beans and linseed still to cut, said James Stafford of Pickwick Lodge Farm, Corsham.

“Yields have been pleasing, but we cut a lot of it a bit wet, at 16-16.5% moisture, which was annoying. We only had about three days when it was completely dry.”

James Bowditch had almost finished combining at North Bowood Farm, Bridport, Dorset, with just 15ha (37 acres) left.

“Thank goodness we had a lot of crimped wheat to be getting on with, which kept us going every morning even when it was a bit wet.”

In Gloucestershire, winter wheat had excelled itself at Ian Branstone’s Bourton Hill Farm. “It’s produced the best yields we’ve ever had – it’s come off really well.”

The 120ha (300 acres) of Einstein first wheat had averaged 11t/ha (4.5t/acre), he said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

But in Dyfed, Wales, harvest was still only about 75% complete, said Meurig Raymond.

“It’s been extremely frustrating – we didn’t have many days’ combining between 20 August and 3 September.”

However, he was now combining Tipple spring barley, and had 120ha (300 acres) to finish, as well as spring oilseed rape and beans.


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Harvest roundup: Friday

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Torrential rain over the past 48 hours has caused widespread flooding in the North of England and Scotland, bringing back memories of last year.

In Aberdeenshire, cars were under water and bales were floating down the river at AJ Duncan Farms’ Muirden Farm, Turriff.

“The roads are shut – it’s a bit of a disaster,” said farms manager Sandy Norrie.

Incessant rain over the past 30 hours had saturated the ground at Andrew Peddie’s Conceres Farm, Astruther, Fife.

“We started the wheat on Tuesday (1 September) and we’ve had over 60mm of rain since then,” he said. “The ground is very wet, but it’s not disastrous yet.”

In Berwick-Upon-Tweed rivers were flooding again, exactly one year on to the day of last year’s disasters.

“It’s unbelievable. But thankfully, we’re quite well through,” said Jim Macfarlane. He reckoned most people were about two-thirds of the way through their wheat in the area.

Harvest had gone well at David Hinchliffe’s Bank House Farm, Goole, Yorkshire, despite a tricky start.

He had finished his winter wheat, and just had 3ha (8 acres) of linseed and 46ha (115 acres) of Fuego spring beans to combine.

And in Berkshire, Richard and George Brown had just an hour’s combining left at Priors Farm, Peasemore, after being rained off when cutting spring oats.

As well as the spring oats at Priors, George had spring oats, beans and spring wheat to contract combine at Sheepdrove Farm, Lambourn. “Four dry days and we’ll be done.”

In Worcestershire, Andrew Symonds had finished harvest at Lincoms Farm, but there was still quite a lot of wheat to cut in the area.

“We hadn’t had to dry much – we missed a lot of the heavy showers as it’s been so localised,” he said.

 syngenta seeds logo

Duxford winter wheat is an HGCA Recommended List 2009/10 variety with very high UK treated yields and a maximum 9 rating for resistance to lodging with and without PGR. Combined with the highest second wheat yield and a balanced disease resistance profile, Duxford will continue to help UK growers meet the challenge of producing more grain profitably.

Go to the Syngenta Seeds website



Harvest roundup: Friday

Upload image to Harvest Highlights

Duxford winter wheat is an HGCA Recommended List 2009/10 variety with very high UK treated yields and a maximum 9 rating for resistance to lodging with and without PGR. Combined with the highest second wheat yield and a balanced disease resistance profile, Duxford will continue to help UK growers meet the challenge of producing more grain profitably.

Go to the Syngenta Seeds website



Harvest roundup: Friday

Upload image to Harvest Highlights

Farmers will be clearing up the last of the winter wheat in the East and South of England this weekend, but showers continue to hamper progress elsewhere.

John Beslee finished combining winter wheat at Hook Green Farm, Southfleet, Kent, yesterday (20 August), leaving just winter beans to cut.

Wheat and spring barley yields had been pleasing, with good milling and malting quality to boot, he said.

But in Scotland showery weather meant Jim Whiteford had only managed to cut 11ha (26 acres) of spring barley since Monday.

Yields and quality had been excellent so far. “But we are in desperate need of good weather to get on with the job.”

Rain had also kept Meurig Raymond’s combine under wraps for the past two days in Wales.

But harvest was generally progressing well, and yields had been pleasing, he said. Harvest was about halfway through in the area, with very little wheat or spring barley cut yet.

In Berkshire, wheat yields were proving very disappointing at Charlie Edgeley’s Kensham Farm.

With mostly continuous wheat, the crops had suffered from terrible take-all this year, compounding problems of late establishment and a dry spring, he said.

Further North, in Yorkshire, Caley Sackur was combining wheat today, and was pleased with his harvest so far.

Harvest was between two-thirds and three-quarters through in the area, although one neighbour had recently finished, he added.


 syngenta seeds logo

Duxford winter wheat is an HGCA Recommended List 2009/10 variety with very high UK treated yields and a maximum 9 rating for resistance to lodging with and without PGR. Combined with the highest second wheat yield and a balanced disease resistance profile, Duxford will continue to help UK growers meet the challenge of producing more grain profitably.

Go to the Syngenta Seeds website



Harvest roundup: Friday

More settled weather has enabled most farmers to catch up with harvest, with many now into wheat across the country.

In Lincolnshire Chris Hewis recorded 130mm of rain in July but had now finished oilseed rape and winter barley, with mixed results.

“The rape was a good crop – we were really pleased. However, the winter barley struggled to make 2.5t/acre (6.2t/ha) – and at today’s prices that’s not very good.”

He waas hoping to start on Oakley winter wheat today (14 August). “The straw is still quite green, though, and it’s 17% moisture. I’d rather let the sun dry it, as we’ve got a promising forecast.”

Harvest was about halfway through at Bill Harbour’s Gosmere Farm, Sheldwich, Kent, where oilseed rape and peas were now finished.

The first wheats were yielding extremely well, but second wheats were proving disappointing, he said.

A new combine was helping Mike England to charge through harvest at Alby Farming, Norfolk.

He had finished winter barley and oilseed rape, and was well into the spring barley, which was yielding about 6.7t/ha (2.7t/acre).

A second-hand combine proved very exciting at Richard Brown’s Priors Farm, Newbury, Berkshire, yesterday, when it took off down a steep field at 30MPH.

“I was just waiting for the header to dig in, and do a loop-the-loop.” However, he was still thrilled with his purchase, and was busy combining spring barley today.

Harvest was progressing more smoothly at Duncan Whiteman’s Arlescott Farm, Telford, Shropshire, where he hoped to make a start on oats today.

“We’re up to date with everything so far. But last week was absolute chaos – we were making hay, and cutting rape and winter barley.”

In Yorkshire, Phil Dowson hoped to be into some Battalion winter wheat this afternoon. “It’s only just fit now – but if we had a week of sunshine we’d blaze through it.”

Nearly all the winter barley in the area was finished, and farmers were about 40% through their winter rapeseed, he said.

 syngenta seeds logo

Duxford winter wheat is an HGCA Recommended List 2009/10 variety with very high UK treated yields and a maximum 9 rating for resistance to lodging with and without PGR. Combined with the highest second wheat yield and a balanced disease resistance profile, Duxford will continue to help UK growers meet the challenge of producing more grain profitably.

Go to the Syngenta Seeds website



Harvest roundup: Friday

A few drier spells around the country have enabled some farmers to make further progress into harvest today, and the forecast looks more settled for the weekend. 

In Shropshire, Andrew Craig made a start on his oilseed rape yesterday, but was at a standstill with combine problems today.

“Not much has been done, but everything is changing by the hour now the sun’s come out. It will be all systems go next week, if the weather stays dry.”

In Northern Ireland, Mark McFerran had finished harvest at Battletown Farm, after two weeks of combining winter barley.

“It has been very slow going,” he said. The 34ha (85 acres) of Volume had yielded 6.9t/ha (2.8t/acre) at 19.5% moisture, with everything cut at between 17% and 22% moisture.

With very little winter barley in the area, most farmers were yet to even start harvest, although the spring barley looked extremely well.

Keith Harris expected to start combining his winter wheat in Dorset over the weekend, but not much had been cut yet in the area.

He finished cutting oilseed rape last week, and was pleased with bumper yields of 4.1t/ha (1.7t/acre) off 45ha (111 acres) of Castille and Astrid.

In Kent, a reasonably dry week had enabled Robert Maylam to make inroads into both spring barley and winter wheat at Bilting Grange, Ashford.

Although the Tipple spring barley was disappointing, the Solstice winter wheat yielded well over 4t/acre (10t/ha).

It was an improvement on the start of harvest, when his combine driver tipped over the combine, managing to escape unhurt.

Spring barley and triticale were also ripe in Norfolk, and Robin Baines expected to make a start on winter wheat early next week.

Although the Tipple and Quench spring barley yields were disappointing, it all made malting quality.

Harvest was about 40% complete in the area, and was ahead of last year, he said.

A more settled forecast for the weekend would hopefully enable combines to get out in force across most of the country over the next few days.

 syngenta seeds logo

Duxford winter wheat is an HGCA Recommended List 2009/10 variety with very high UK treated yields and a maximum 9 rating for resistance to lodging with and without PGR. Combined with the highest second wheat yield and a balanced disease resistance profile, Duxford will continue to help UK growers meet the challenge of producing more grain profitably.

Go to the Syngenta Seeds website



Harvest roundup: Friday

Combines have been busy across much of the country today but some crops are already becoming a salvage job.

In Nottinghamshire, Geoffrey Williams had finally started harvest at Birklands Farm, but was struggling with wet conditions.

“The rape has been down in the swath for three weeks, and it’s dreadfully wet in the bottom. It’s difficult to travel, but we’re just having to push on.”

Crops in Cornwall were also starting to suffer from the wet and windy weather, with barley brackled over and oilseed rape ready to shatter.

Jon Bond of Trerule Farm, Trerulefoot, Saltash, said he was desperate to start combining. “It’s all too similar to last year. I’ve never seen so many depressed farmers.”

Further North, Paul Bird was combining rapeseed today in Shropshire, having finished his winter barley.

“It’s plenty wet enough, but what do you do? It’s almost a salvage job and we’ve hardly even started.”

Will Mumford was finishing off winter barley at Agden Hill Farm, Cambridgeshire, today with disappointing yields of 7.2t/ha (2.9t/acre).

But the rape proved much better than expected, averaging almost 4.9t/ha (2t/acre). “I thought the combine’s yield meter was wrong!”

In Kent, Jonathan Tipples was enjoying a fine day, and making a start on his wheat at 16.1-18.7% moisture.

So far the Einstein was disappointing at about 7.4t/ha (3t/acre). “We could have done with a lot more rain in June. There’s nothing more depressing than harvesting drought-ravaged crops in a monsoon.”

Farmers were about 15-20% through harvest in the area, having almost finished winter barley and cut 70-80% of their rape, he added.

 syngenta seeds logo

Duxford winter wheat is an HGCA Recommended List 2009/10 variety with very high UK treated yields and a maximum 9 rating for resistance to lodging with and without PGR. Combined with the highest second wheat yield and a balanced disease resistance profile, Duxford will continue to help UK growers meet the challenge of producing more grain profitably.

Go to the Syngenta Seeds website



Harvest roundup: Friday

Thunderstorms across the South and East of England brought most combines to a halt today (24 July).

In Wiltshire, James Dean had been combining winter barley, with Flagon yielding 8.7t/ha (3.5t/acre) and Wintmalt averaging 8t/ha (3.25t/acre).

Having started in 80ha (200 acres) of Cassata last night, Mr Dean was then rained off and was unlikely to make much progress today.

Flagon also proved pleasing for Tim Merry at JV Farming, Dorchester, Dorset. It had averaged 8.3t/ha (3.4t/acre) over the weighbridge, and passed for malting. 

“I am very pleased with both yield and quality,” he said.

Torrential rain was not causing problems for Andy Pendry in Kent today, as he had finished combining rape and was now waiting for wheat to ripen.

“The rape did very well – it’s been our best year.” Performing best was 39ha (96 acres) of Flash, which ranged from 4.6t to 5.1t/ha (1.9-2.1t/acre).

Oilseed rape had also exceeded expectations at Andrew Kerr’s Wyldingtree Farm, North Weald, Essex, but the worst was yet to come, he reckoned.

“I think a lot of people have cut their best crops first.” Wheat was still about 10 days away, and looked fairly average.

In Lincolnshire combines had started to venture out, but had been rained off today, said Jonathan Booth.

He was thrilled with his Suzuka winter barley, grown for seed. “It was fantastic – it did a good 4t/acre (9.9t/ha).”

Oilseed rape and winter wheat crops looked very mixed, and yields were likely to be well down on last year, he added.

The Met Office had issued a severe weather warning for heavy rain across much of England today, but forecast brighter skies on Saturday, with the best of the weather in the South East on Sunday.

 syngenta seeds logo

Duxford winter wheat is an HGCA Recommended List 2009/10 variety with very high UK treated yields and a maximum 9 rating for resistance to lodging with and without PGR. Combined with the highest second wheat yield and a balanced disease resistance profile, Duxford will continue to help UK growers meet the challenge of producing more grain profitably.

Go to the Syngenta Seeds website



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