Dodging soggy fields near Ponteland

James Walby is dodging the wet fields to combine winter barley today (27 July) at East House Farm, near Ponteland, Northumberland.

“We started on Monday (23 July), which is a bit later than normal,” he said. “Last year we started on 15 July, but it’s normally about the 20th, so we’re not too late.”

So far he had cut 10ha of two-row barley, which had not been yielding terribly well. “The seeds are quite small.

“We had to leave half of the first field as it was too wet underfoot – and it’s too early to be making a mess.

“This field has better drainage, so it’s going alright. But there’s a lot of broom grass which is a bother.”

Neighbouring farmers on heavy ground were having to chop their straw, but straw yields at East House Farm looked good so far, added Mr Walby.

“Most of the crops look alright, although some fields on wetter land have died off. The forecast isn’t very good, which is why we’re cracking on now.”

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