24 July 2002

In the eastern half of England an estimated 40% of oilseed rape was in the store by Tuesday this week, but that hides a wide variation with some on heavier ground still to start, especially where crops have been left to ripen naturally. Perversely, the south was further behind with only 20% or so cleared and the west had only just started. "The south had more rain in June and that has particularly delayed the oilseed rape," notes ARCs Mike Carver. However, the benefit of that is that with few exceptions yields are up.

Barley progress has been better in the south with about a third cleared but again the midlands and east are at least keeping pace. Yields are less spectacular than oilseed rape and there are some quality concerns.

&#8226 For northern progress, or lack of it, turn over.

Flying Scotsman under way

BARLEY harvesting was off to a flyer in Scotland earlier this week as Hamish Forke moved into six-row variety Siberia at Lockdhu Farm, Morayshire, 10 days earlier than last year.

The 9ha (25-acre) field yielded about 8.9t/ha (3.25t/acre) at 11-16% moisture. "This is a very early crop that was not burnt off, and it provided plenty of straw, which suites us well for our mixed system," he says.

"We are on very light soil, so we are very pleased with the yield. We would never expect the 4t/acre mark, the ground just isnt heavy enough."

Apart from crimped crops Mr Forke believed he was the only farmer in the area to have started earlier this week. &#42

Combines have ripped into ripe crops from Morayshire to Middlehurst and trends on quality and quantity are already becoming clear, for winter barley and oilseed rape at least. But have your crops conformed or bucked the trend? Help us bring you the best harvest coverage by telling us exactly how your crops have performed. Phone (020-8652 2080), fax (020-8652 4005), or e-mail (chris.horn@rbi.co.uk) with your yield and progress reports to date.

For more on how harvest is going in your region check out our daily Harvest Highlights reports on www.fwi.co.uk