Heavy showers are still disrupting harvest, but a brighter forecast for the weekend and beyond is raising hopes that combines will start to roll again soon.
In Wiltshire David Butler had made a start on his winter wheat, and was drafting in a third combine to help get the crops in more quickly.
“It looks like the quality has been holding,” he said. “But there are quite a few crops now showing signs of damage – if the weather continues they will go down.”
Harvest was progressing at a quarter of its usual pace at Rebecca Hill’s North West Farm, Winterbourne, Dorset.
“It’s very frustrating and disappointing,” she said. “It looks like a fantastic harvest and we just can’t get to it.”
Mrs Hill had switched from cutting spring barley to winter wheat, for logistical drying reasons, and was averaging over 10t/ha (4t/acre).
In Wales Paul Phillips was combining between the showers, and finished off the winter barley on Friday (15 August).
The 5ha (13 acres) of Carat averaged 5.6t/ha (2.25t/acre) – slightly below a normal year, he said. “The straw was a little bit disappointing but good and clean.”
But John Best had not had the combine out for weeks at Acton House Farm, Poyntzpass, County Armagh.
“Yields have been tremendous – the problem is trying to get them in,” he said. “There is still winter barley to cut round me, and there have been quite a lot of crops under water.”
In the Scottish borders Stuart Fuller-Shapcott had only just started cutting winter barley and was concerned about his oilseed rape, which had been desiccated for the past three weeks.
“We have had monstrous amounts of rain in the past few weeks,” he said. “I am leaving huge ruts with the combine.”
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Duxford winter wheat is an HGCA Recommended List 2008/09 variety with very high
See the New Farm Crops website.