Autumn dews slow harvest

Farmers have made relatively slow harvest progress over the past week, with heavy dews and green straw to blame, according to the latest report from ADAS.

By Tuesday (4 September), 63% of the combinable crop area had been cut, behind the average of 85%.

Wheat harvest was about 55% complete, with yields 5-10% below average at 7.1-7.4t/ha, said the report.

“There is still significant area still to be harvested in the Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber and Scotland.”

Specific weights were still low, at 60-72kg/hl, and Hagberg Falling Numbers, while acceptable, were starting to fall slightly.

“Despite the high levels of fusarium the levels of mycotoxins in grain have been low – however there are now some reports of rejections as a result of grain loads exceeding maximum DON levels.”

Spring barley harvest was 40% through, with yields, although variable, expected to average 5.1-5.4t/ha.

“In England and Wales 55% of the area was harvested by 4 September, which puts it clearly as the latest and slowest harvest in recent years,” said the report.

“Typically around 80-90% would be harvested by early September. Brackling is starting to be a problem in ripe crops in the south of England and these are now a priority to harvest before yield is lost.

“In Scotland, 25% of the area was harvested, which is behind the five-year average of 50%.”

Specific weights were low, at 55-68kg/hl, with nitrogen at 1.5-1.6%.

Winter barley harvest was 99% complete, with yields slightly above average at 6.3-6.6t/ha, it added.

Oat yields were close to the five-year average, at 5.4-5.6t/ha, with about half of the crop now cut.

“Yields in the south are slightly disappointing, often lower than the field average, but further north there have been some good yields close to or even slightly above the field average.”

Farmers had cut about 97% of their winter oilseed rape, with above average yields of 3.4-3.6t/ha, but lower than normal oil contents of 40-45%, said the report.

Spring rapeseed harvest was 25% through, with yields close to average at 2.2-2.8t/ha.

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