2 August 2002

Harvest at a halt as skies open

HEAVY rain, with up to 100mm (4in) in places, saw harvest grind to a halt mid-week, with plenty of oilseed rape even in the south still uncut.

In Hungerford, Berks Jonathan Holland still had 101ha (250 acres) of rape and 162ha (400 acres) of winter barley to harvest despite having five combines, one running a 27hr straight shift.

On Wednesday morning, 25mm (1in) "in an instant" stopped all progress. "We were lucky because the rape was dampened the night before allowing the pods to soak up some moisture. So far they havent been damaged."

On FARMERS WEEKLYs southern barometer farm at Farnham, Surrey, Simon Porter (see Arable, p48) just managed to finish his 113ha (280-acre) crop before the weather broke.

"We had a couple of combine breakdowns so we never got to the barley, but I am pleased to have all the oilseed rape under cover."

In Somerset, where it was still dry on Wednesday morning, fellow barometer Chris Salisbury had yet to start oilseed rape. "We still have green pods," he said. "My neighbours done about half his, but the rest is still unfit." For more on harvest, including daily round-ups, visit our website. &#42