16 August 2002

Covers off: Barometer combines start wheat

Combines came out from

under the covers on farms

everywhere earlier this

week, and FARMERS

WEEKLYs barometer

growers were no exception.

Chris Horn and Andrew

Swallow report

WINTER barley was all but wrapped up across the country earlier this week with many starting to reel in wheat.

"We hope to finish our winter barley today (Tues)," said Robert Ramsey from West Mains of Kinblethmont, By Arbroath, FWs barometer grower for Scotland. "Yields have been about average but crops looked much better than that."

In Northern Ireland Robert Craig has also cleared his winter barley at Carse Hall near Ballykelly in Co. Londonderry, and 90% of the crop is cut in the region, he reckons.

"We have had very good yields considering the year, up to 8.4t/ha (3.4t/acre) from Regina, half a tonne up on our neighbours, and at 64kg/hl."

Heavy rain throughout the season caused combines to sink when cutting wheat for crimping and much valuable straw is still lying in fields, he notes.

In Yorks, Catherine Thompson cleared pleasing Pearl and Siberia winter barley and a patchy crop of oilseed rape before the worst rains struck at Holme House, Holme on Spalding Moor.

Earlier this week she was about to start wheat. "Our main worry is that Claire will sprout in the ear. So far it hasnt and it is all stood up bar overlaps," she comments.

Across in Shropshire Sandy Walkers wheat at High Ercall was at a similar stage on Tuesday.

"I am just going to rub out a few grains. We wont go until it is under 17-18%." Whether early drilled, but as yet unsprouted, Claire or potential milling Malacca would be first was still to be decided.

Meanwhile in the East, at Rectory Farm, near Saffron Walden, Peter Wombwell has moved into Xi19 and Option. "The Malaccas Hagberg has gone and the sample has sprouted grains in it. Xi19 and Option have held at about 265."

Xi19s yield and quality so far is sufficient for it to have booked its ticket into next years cropping programme, he adds.

At Penn Croft Farms, Surrey, Simon Porter was also cutting wheat on Monday but that was the first nibble at the Farnham-based farms 544ha (1344acre) crop. "We want to get the Isengrain finished before the peas are ready.

"The rest of the wheat is only just fit so quality shouldnt be affected if left for a little while longer. If we leave the peas any longer they will start shedding."

In the south-west few have started wheat and at Park Farm, Taunton Chris Salisbury was still clearing up the last 7ha (17acres) of oilseed rape on Monday.

"We cut a little wheat at 30% moisture for urea-treating and feeding to the cows. The rest should be ready by the end of the week, after we have finished the oilseed rape." &#42