Combines have remained under wraps across much of the country today (31 July), due to continuing unsettled weather.

In Northamptonshire, ground conditions had been variable at Orchard Farm, Yelvertoft, where Andrew Fyfe was cutting winter barley until being rained off yesterday.

“With a few dry days, it dried up a tremendous amount on our farm, yet when we tried to cut 8ha at my uncle’s the combine sank,” he said.

“The wet weather has meant some secondary growth has occurred and quality could be affected.”

However, winter barley yields in Cambridgeshire were better than average, and quality was very good, according to Philip Darke at Camgrain.

“Nitrogen contents are very low, at about 1.65%, and bushelweights are good,” he said.

So far the store had taken in about 20,000t of grain, with harvest between 10 and 14 days later than normal.

Bedfordshire contractor Matt Redman was yet to make a start on harvest, and was getting increasingly concerned about the quality of both oilseed rape and wheat.

“Cordiale has been affected no end with fusarium,” he said. “It’s just a waiting game, but I expect wheat yields will be down.”

In Wiltshire, winter barley harvest was over halfway through, and malting quality has been better than expected.

“Yields have been average or below average,” said Nick Brown, store manager at Wiltshire Grain.

“But the majority of the Cassata has been better than expected – in a normal year, you’d probably downgrade it to feed, but this year it will probably make malt.”

Combining was progressing well at John Robinson’s farm near Ponteland, Northumberland, despite the wet weather.

However, barley yields were nothing to write home about, he said. “It is making the grade, but only just.”

So far the 50ha of Cassia had yielded about 7.5t/ha, with a bushelweight of about 66kg/hl.

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