Farmer Focus: Harvest includes irrigation pipe, says Neil Thomson

I would have expected that by last week (Kelso Ram sales) our harvest would be if not quite finished, then certainly in the home straight.

But the previous weekend’s 120mm of rain put paid to any idea of that happening.

Looking out on Saturday morning I could see nothing but water. Fortunately one submerged field had been cut, but the beans were not, and only time will tell if we can salvage them.

This area has had a torrid time, and there are vast acreages still to be harvested.

Travelling on saturated fields will be a challenge, and I pity potato growers wanting to lift their crops.

Despite this, we have cut two-thirds of our spring barley with incredibly low nitrogens (one sample as low as 1.06%) and remarkably robust yields of about 6.4t/ha. However, some of our Oxbridge will not malt due to poor germination.

The rest is now sprouting in the ear, so I hope feed prices improve.

We made a determined effort to harvest our Cordiale wheat as early as possible to maintain its quality, but in vain. Hagbergs were embarrassingly low, though we were pleasantly surprised with 9.3t/ha especially as they were second wheats.

One evening, I was opening up a field with the hired and unfamiliar yellow combine, a friend sitting next to me.

I remembered to keep my eyes peeled for an old irrigation pipe, and sure enough we spied it. However it was the far end.

The near end disappeared up the trunk of the combine faster than you can say Lewis Hamilton.

With the pipe flailing around like a serpent’s tongue I banged the top of the control column looking for the emergency stop, but nothing happened.

Why? That’s where the button is on our green combine. You couldn’t make it up.

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