Early harvest at Whitley Bay

Harvest is exceptionally early at Sentry Farming’s Blagdon and Hartley Main Farms, Whitley Bay, Northumberland, with 75% of the wheat now cut.

“We’ve got 49ha left of 648ha of wheat, which is a record for this time of year,” said farm manager Andrew Crewdson. “We don’t normally start combining wheat until September.”

Mr Crewdson also had 202ha of spring barley left to do, as well as some spring beans, which looked well. “We haven’t cut any spring barley yet but the reports are good.

“We didn’t cut much last week but we combined wheat at 15% moisture yesterday (31 August),” he said.

“Yields have been all over the place, with first wheat Viscount after beans doing tremendously well but anything grown after spring wheat proving very disappointing.”

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First wheats had averaged about 9.9t/ha, with second wheats down at 7.4-8.6t/ha. “Overall, with Viscount, Relay, Grafton and Invicta, we’ve averaged 9.1t/ha, which is good for us,” said Mr Crewdson. “It’s not a barn-filling year but it’s still not bad.”

Winter barley had been more disappointing, with Pearl averaging 6.2t/ha and all making the malting grade; Glacier yielding 7.4t/ha and Volume 8.6t/ha.

“Oilseed rape did 3.2-3.5t/ha, which is good for us.”

With such an early harvest, Mr Crewdson was well ahead with field preparations, and was now concentrating on drilling wheat. “The oilseed rape is up and growing, and we started wheat today, which is spot on,” he said.

“The seedbeds are nice, so we’re setting up two good years on the trot. It’s a nice feeling to get back to a good year; it’s been a while since we’ve had one.”