15% left in County Down

Farmers have got about 15% of harvest still to do in Co. Down, Northern Ireland, and showers continue to cause delays.

“We’ve had a very unsettled two or three weeks,” said Charles Davidson, director of North Down Grain.

“Two dry days would finish harvest off, but the days are getting short and the drying is getting less – it’s still very wet by mid-morning now.”

Although harvest was 10 days later than normal, the crops were also slow to ripen, so were not coming to any harm, he said.

“We were cutting wheat yesterday (22 September) and there’s no sign of regrowth. It could have been early September.”

Yields had been extremely good, with many crops up towards 10t/ha (4t/acre).

Spring barley yields had also been excellent, with many over 7.4t/ha (3t/acre) and some up to 8.9t/ha (3.6t/acre).

“I’ve always heard of 3t/acre but have never actually seen it. Yields have been the highest I’ve ever seen in spring barley.

“It’s been an ideal growing year – we’ve had rain and sun when we needed it, and quality has been, and still is, excellent.”

Farmers had spent the damp days preparing for winter sowing, so were reasonably up to date, said Mr Davidson.

“I think we will be alright – any chance we get to combine the crops we’re going to take now, and as the grain is really ripe it’s a lot drier than you’d think.”

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