All-girl team tackles harvest

Harvest at Higher Melcombe Farm, Ansty, Dorset, is proving to be something of a head turner – and not just because of the yields.

Carol Besent runs the farm with her daughter Harriet – and her two other daughters, Georgina and Katie, are helping out over the summer. “Katie does the combining, and the other two run the tractors and trailers,” she said.

“There’s quite a troop of us, and my daughters are all blonde and gorgeous; we do get a few strange looks.”

Harvest was progressing remarkably well, with spring barley yielding a pleasing 7.4-8.6t/ha.

“We didn’t manage to get any winter barley drilled – and the oilseed rape had to be ripped up and replaced with spring barley,” said Mrs Besent.

“We will probably start the wheat today (23 August) or tomorrow – one field looks reasonable but the other one is dreadful – we just couldn’t get it drilled early enough.”

Having baled the barley straw for their 180 dairy cows, Mrs Besent was hoping the weather would remain dry.

“My husband died four years ago and we’ve had desperately wet harvests ever since, so it’s lovely to have such a decent spell of weather,” she said.

“All the crops looked so dreadful earlier in the year, I can’t believe how well they’ve done.”

PHOTOGRAPH: Courtesy of

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