Farmer Focus: Philip Reck says it’s a hat-trick of wet harvests

This is now our third consecutive wet harvest. Who would ever have expected three in a row?

This year is turning out to be wetter than 2008, with two-and-a-half times our normal summer rainfall, confirming the adage “when it rains it pours”.

The beginning of September was marked by three days of heavy rain, and while travelling to the field to move the combine I passed “road flooded” signs.

The culprit, it seems, is the Gulf Stream, which is uncharacteristically further south than normal allowing Atlantic weather systems to play havoc with our harvest.

Is this a shift in the global weather pattern or simply a slight glitch which will be rectified by this time next year? I for one certainly hope it’s the latter, as times like these are heavy on man and machine.

A good week of fine weather will help us complete the harvest, although progress will no doubt be slower, with heavier night dews making for shorter working days.

Autumn cropping will also depend largely on the weather. Land is saturated at the moment and we need at least 10 dry days before we can consider resuming cultivations.

Time is then needed to create stale seed-beds before spraying off and drilling. Winter wheat and winter oats will be sown only if conditions allow.

With most of the ground destined for spring barley much also needs cultivating in the autumn and sown with a cover crop. Our nitrates directive dictates that the land must have green cover over winter.

Some of these cover crops will be direct-drilled into stubbles to get them away quickly because time is running out.

This will all be done in our predicted warm, dry month of September – or am I being a little too optimistic?

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