Drought concerns in East Suffolk

Drought continues to be a major feature for Alastair Kerr, near Woodbridge, Suffolk.


“We’ve missed the heavy showers completely. So far in July we’ve had just 6mm, and that was at the beginning of the month.”


Barley harvest had finished, he confirmed.


“Yields on Flagon, Pearl and Siberia have been about average. Quality has been good with nitrogens around 1.65, although we’ve had slightly higher screenings on the very light land.”


Eighty percent of the oilseed rape was now cut, Mr Kerr confirmed.


“Again it’s about average. Some of the heavy land has gone quite well, but some of the light land has suffered.


“Fortis on the light land has done about 3-3.5t/ha, while Astrid on the heavier land has done 3.5-4t/ha. Moistures have ranged from 6-8%.”


Irrigation restrictions were put in place yesterday by the Environment Agency on the River Deben, Mr Kerr told FWi.


“That’s going to reduce our licensed quantity daily to about 50% or 25% of our licensed amount for the rest of the season.


“Where we’ve been reduced [on irrigation] we’re clearing the crops. Yields are down on irrigated crops but it’s hard to say by how much.”


Temperatures have been as much of a problem as lack of water, he added. “Crops have been shutting down – maintaining themselves but not putting yield on. A lot of irrigation has been purely maintaining crops.”


Mr Kerr expects to start wheat harvest at the weekend, “weather permitting”.



Crop: Barley

Variety: Flagon, Siberia, Pearl

Area: 60ha, 70ha, 170ha

Yield: 6t/ha (about average)

Quality: 1.65N


Crop: Oilseed rape

Variety: Fortis

Area: 100ha

Yield: 3-3.5t/ha (about average for lighter land)

Quality: 6-8% moisture


Crop: Oilseed rape

Variety: Astrid

Area: 400ha

Yield: 3.5-4t/ha (about average for heavier land)

Quality: 6-8% moisture


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