Dodging showers in Norfolk

Norfolk grower Ed Lankfer had 60ha (150acres) of wheat remaining at Laurel Farm, Wereham. He was combining last Sunday and Tuesday at 18-20% moisture.

“We’re dodging showers to get it done. We haven’t had a whole decent day combining in three weeks.”

He was very pleased with harvest before the rain, with good yields and bushel weights in the high 70s kg/hl. But he said there was a big difference in quality after the rain with bushel weights down to the high 60s.

“Crops still in the field are starting to grow in the ear. Quality is deteriorating rapidly.”

Mr Lankfer was particularly pleased with the performance of Alchemy, which had been the best variety at 11-12t/ha (4.4-4.8t/acre). But he said Zebedee had had no bushel weights when cut before the rain, and yields were down at 9.5-10t/ha (3.8-4t/acre).

He said the rain would now cause the average to drop to 8.5-9t/ha (3.4-3.6t/acre) from the farm average of 9-9.5t/ha (3.6-3.8t/acre). “If the weather had stayed as it was, then we would have been up on average, but the rain will have brought it down.”

Small farms in the area had finished wheat harvest, but he said larger farms in the north of Norfolk still had “an awful lot left” to do.

“Anything that was not cut before the rain will struggle with good quality.”

Oilseed rape had been average this year with 28ha (70acres) of Castille yielding 4t/ha (1.6t/acre) and Lioness at 4.6t/ha (1.84t/acre). But the average oil content of Lioness was 45.1%, which he said would boost the output.

Eighteen hectares (45acres) of Gerald oats performed very well this year and was all in store. “It was amazing – the best crop we’ve ever had.

• Crop: Winter wheat
• Varieties: Various
• Area: 60ha left to cut
• Yield: Average 8.5-9t/ha, Alchemy 11-12t/ha, Zebedee 9.5-10t/ha
• Quality: Moisture levels 18-20%, Pre-rain bushel weights high 70skg/hl, High 60skg/hl since the rain

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