Bedfordshire crops start to be affected by wet weather

FW Farmer Focus writer Stephen Bumstead said there was still quite a bit left to cut in the Bedfordshire area. He had 72ha (180ac) of crops remaining with 36ha (90ac) beans, 20ha (50ac) Robigus winter wheat, and the rest was spring barley.

“I thought more people would have finished than have.”

Cocktail spring barley had “started to look dishevelled” at Ouse Bank Farm, with moisture levels of 14.2-14.7%. Specific weights were 63 or 64kg/hl and he reckoned yields were at 6.25t/ha (2.5t/ac).

“I managed to snatch Sunday afternoon combining Cocktail. We budgeted for 6.4t/ha (2.6t/ac) but the problem is the crop has fallen over, even on the stiffer crops. We can’t push on because it will just have a bulldozer affect as the ground is so soft.”

Remaining Robigus winter wheat was not looking too bad and had held out in the wet weather. One field had started to look black but he said he had not recently noticed any sprouting.

“Volunteer crops are starting to come through. They are still standing at the moment but any heavy storms will knock it over.”

Cordiale had averaged 7.4t/ha (2.96t/ac) with 12.5t/ha (5t/ac) on the best 6ha (15ac) field. “I took photos on my phone to show people how good the crop was! However, the day before, another field had yielded 6.3t/ha (2.5t/ac) which was very disappointing. I’d be delighted if it averaged 8t/ha (3.2t/ac).”

Specific weights were down at 74kg/hl, with a maximum of 78kg/hl. He would expect them to be at 80kg/hl, but there was just not enough rain at the right time. Protein levels of the milling wheat were at 15%, despite the target of 13.5%, which he put down to the season.

Mr Bumstead had begun to think about seed shortages for next season. “It’s been going through my mind. The August price seems reasonable but I think that will be affected as merchants did not get the seed quality they thought would have.

“At the end of the day we will probably get substandard quality seed for more money. But, those who got crops done in good time would probably be farm safe.”

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