Combining wet wheat has caused breakdowns at Higher Clapton Farm, near Wincanton, Dorset, and grain is starting to shed.
“It’s terribly depressing, and there is an air of desperation creeping in,” said farm manager and independent agronomist Chris Batchelor.
Combining wheat at 28% moisture had smashed the combine’s unloading gearbox, and grain quality was falling.
“It is almost all sprouting and specific weights are dropping fast. What we cut now may not technically make the feed grade.
“I think the yields, and the quality, are going to be compromised now, and it’s going to cost an arm and a leg to dry.”
Yields so far had been good at over 10t/ha (4t/acre), and the oats, despite lodging badly, averaged 7.4t/ha (3t/acre), said Mr Batchelor. “But all bar five loads have been over 20% moisture.”
Although he only had 7ha (18 acres) of his own wheat to cut, as well as 80ha (200 acres) of contracting to do, some farmers in the area had as much as 400ha (1000 acres) to combine.
Mr Batchelor had not yet drilled any rape, and planned to plough the land followed by a power harrow drill to get it in without further compaction.
Crop: Winter wheat
Varieties: Alchemy, Gatsby and Solstice
Area: 89ha (220 acres)
Yield: >10t/ha (4t/acre)
Crop: Winter oats
Area: 6.5ha (16 acres)
Yield: 7.4t/ha (3t/acre)
Crop: Oilseed rape
Area: 39ha (96 acres)
Yield: 3.8t/ha (1.5t/acre)
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Duxford winter wheat is an HGCA Recommended List 2008/09 variety with very high
See the New Farm Crops website.