Nearly in and looking good
THE FIRST significant rain since combining began this year has brought a harvest glitch. But even northerly farms expect to finish soon – some with their best yields ever.
After an easy and cheap run, some growers on the England/ Scotland border are concerned about gathering the rest of their wheats.
By mid week there was still a quarter of the crop to cut, according to Berwick-based Mike Thompson, marketing agent for the Coastal Grain co-op.
Catchy weather sees moistures, at one time 13%, back up to 19-20% and crops needing drying, he reports. "There hasnt been any damage yet. But the grain is ripe and were getting damp mornings."
Small areas of spring rape and oats have yet to be tackled, but most barleys are in store, with later samples 1.8-1.9%.
Barometer farmer Ian Brown, in one of the "late pockets" near Alnwick, has made good progress, with just 28ha (70 acres) of Hussar to cut by mid week. Solara peas for seed did 4.8t/ha (1.9t/acre) – slightly down on last years exceptional yield.
Rain in Scotland
It has been a start/stop week in Scotland, with rain throughout the country – some heavy in the north. Nevertheless, Alan Whiteford in Easter Ross expects to finish grain cutting this weekend.
"Around here, Riband looks extremely well, especially on heavier land. Yields may not be exceptional but quality is very high."
Spring rape will follow wheat and looks quite well. Malting barley nitrogens have stayed low to the end, he reports.
In Aberdeenshire David Jack had only 20 hours combining in the seven days to Tuesday. "But we are still a week ahead of last year."
Chariot yielded 6.1t/ha (2.5t/acre) at 1.7% nitrogen – acceptable to the maltsters and "quite pleasing" on a dairy farm.
At Maybole in the west, John Duncans contractor assures him feed wheat has "run at nearer four than three tonnes an acre". Feed barley also did well to compensate for light silage crops. Throughout the country there is a record crop of straw.
In Wales the cereal harvest is mostly done. Showers caused minor problems for contractors mopping up feed barleys on livestock farms. But often inadequate drying facilities were rarely needed.
Barometer grower Meurig Raymond reports a mean wheat yield of 10.6t/ha (4.2t/acre) at 15% moisture – the first time he has averaged more than 10t/ha.
Spring rape fear allayed
His first spring rape did much better than expected. "I feared the worst, but it is yielding 2.5t/ha – 1t/acre – compared with 3.14t/ha in an average season. Our harvest will be over a good month earlier than normal."
• Northern Ireland barometer Brian Hammond, "taking no chances" with the rain, finished harvest on Monday. Hussar wheat at "about 4t/acre", and needing a quick pass through the drier, left him with his best ever average. *