HEAVY showers halted harvesting with most wheat and spring barley still to be cut. Rain continued to disrupt combining over most of the area early this week.
Barometer grower David Price, Barland Farm, Presteigne, was among the many frustrated growers whose combines were idle. Pembrokeshire coast producer Meurig Raymond was luckier.
"We benefited from being on the edge of a high pressure area in the Atlantic," Mr Raymond said. "The barley yielded 6.6t/ha (55cwt/acre) at 16%. The sample lost some colour, but the specific weight is 70, and we have high hopes for its malting quality."
Local forecasts indicate he should finish the 141.4ha (350 acres) of barley, and pick up the last of the 4.2t/ha (1.7t/acre) yielding swathed winter oilseed rape this week. Rain is likely to prevent a start on four winter wheat varieties. The crops are badly lodged. There is no sign of sprouting, but quality might be a problem.
Delays and previous slow clearance of unusually heavy winter barley crops are certain to put contractors under severe pressure.
David Evans, who runs arable and beef enterprises at Moelygarth, Guilsfield, Powys, sees both sides of the problem. He also drives a combine for a contractor and has been involved in the slow harvesting of some very high yielding crops.
"I do not think I combined a winter barley crop yielding less than 7.2t/ha, and most wheats in the area look very promising," Mr Evans claims.
His own winter barleys did very well. Hannah yielded 8.4t/ha (3.5t/acre) of first class plump grain. Intro produced 7.2t/ha (3t/acre), but the sample was disappointing, and the crop lodged. Bambi grown from saved seed yielded just as well as Intro, but stood better, gave a super bold sample, and provided plenty of high quality feeding straw.
The showers left him with a field of spring barley and 3.2ha (8acres) of triticale to do. Triticale has been grown for several years on land close to a large number of badger sets.
"Badgers roll in wheat and barley, but do not seem to like the spiky straw and prominent awns of triticale." Mr Evans claims "The crop does not need fungicide, so it is cheap to grow and has yielded 7.2t/ha (3t/acre) in the past."
In other parts of the England-Wales border, and as in South Wales, harvesting has been badly affected by rain. Peter Davies, Durval Farm, St Brides Major, Glamorgan, says he has seven combining days left once the sheet comes off the combine.
His winter barleys produced mixed results, but averaged around 6.6t/ha (2.75t/acre). He had combined 12 of his 48ha of winter wheat before being rained off.
Pressing on amid the gloom to beat the weather at Beckerings Park Farm Partners, Lidlington, Bedfordshire. Some wish overtime had begun sooner.