Drier days bring combines out again

A couple of drier days have seen combines back out across most of the country this week, but many farmers are still desperately behind.

Andrew Digwood was cutting winter oats yesterday (26 August) in Shropshire, and hoped to start the wheat today.

“The wheat is looking alright – we haven’t seen any sprouting and it’s all standing up still,” he said.

Fields were very wet in East Yorkshire, but contractor Keith Snowball was on combining today for the first time this week, after being rained off on Sunday.

“It’s a beautiful sunny afternoon and the wind’s blowing, but when I look at the moisture meter it is 23%, where it’s been all day,” he said. “It is very wet and crops have suffered a bit.”

Northern Ireland had also been very wet, and some farmers still had winter barley to cut in places, said John Best.

He managed to combine his winter oats between the showers over the Bank Holiday weekend in County Armagh, and was making a start on his winter wheat today.

The weather had been better in the east, and two days combining would see John Beslee finish harvest at Hook Green Farm, Southfleet, Kent. 

“Our spring barley is ready but we want to cut it below 16% moisture,” he said. The 43ha (106 acres) of Tipple cut so far had yielded at least 7.4t/ha (3t/acre).

Wheat quality was bearing up well in the middle and east of the country, but crops further west and north were starting to deteriorate, said Simon Ingle of Grainfarmers.

He reckoned harvest was about 50-60% complete in East Anglia, and 70% done in Kent, but only around 20% through further west.


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