Wheat harvest is underway in Essex, with farmers across the rest of the country dodging the showers to finish off rape and winter barley.

“Wheats are yielding well – 10-20% above average,” said Guy Smith near St Osyth. “If the Solstice doesn’t touch 10t/ha (4t/acre) I’ll be disappointed.”

Further North in Lincolnshire, FW Barometer farmer Tony Reynolds had finished his oilseed rape, averaging 4.4t/ha (1.8t/acre). “We think that’s smashing – anything approaching 4t/ha we would consider is good,” he said.

After five years of letting his land out, David Price had returned to farming at Presteigne, Powys, this year, and timed his barley harvest perfectly. “We finished at about 4.00 on Monday (28 July) – and the rain tipped down at 6.00,” he said. “We’ve had some fantastic yields – one field did 8.6t/ha (3.5t/acre).

Farmer Focus writer Richard Beachell had also finished his Pearl winter barley near Driffield, Humberside, which yielded very well at 8.4t/ha (3.4t/acre). At 1.4% Nitrogen it had already been delivered to the malsters.

But near Bristol, Chris Vowles was waiting for a few dry days before he made a start on his winter barley. “The barley straw is still a bit green but I’m hoping for a good crop,” said Mr Vowles.

Traders said harvest pressure was yet to start in earnest, with lorry availability proving reasonable and spot rape prices improving over the past week.

However, wheat and barley prices had fallen, knocked by promising yields across Europe and aggressive exporting from Black Sea countries.

 

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