Farmers busy ahead of forecast rain

Farmers were busy combining and drilling ahead of the forecast heavy rain tomorrow and Saturday (5/6 September).

Colin Keevil was combining at every opportunity between the showers at Chapel Farm, East Knoyle, Wilts, but his dryers were struggling to keep up.

“We got on twice yesterday at 27% moisture,” he said. “The grain is so wet it’s difficult to get it through the dryer. This is one of the worst years we have had.”

In Essex Andrew Kerr was direct drilling oilseed rape, opting for hybrid varieties due to the late season.

He had finished the winter wheat, and yields had been variable, with second wheats particularly badly hit.  Yields ranged from 6.3-10t/ha (2.5-4t/acre).

Philip Gorringe had not been on combining since Saturday at Lower Blakemere Farm, Herefordshire, and had still not cut any wheat at all.

“We’ve got a lot to do,” he said. “Most of the wheat is standing, but we’ve got two inches of rain forecast tomorrow.”

Heavy rain also continued to frustrate harvest at Carl Tuer’s Rock Farms, Alnwick, Northumberland.

“It’s just been absolutely unbelievable – it was horrendously wet here last night and it’s forecast to be dreadful tomorrow.”

Yields were nothing better than average, he said. “We haven’t had any quality losses yet but that may change after the weekend.”

In North Scotland the weather had been slightly kinder, and Doug Fowlie was halfway through his spring barley near Longside, Peterhead.

The Optic had yielded about average, at 5.6t/ha (2.25t/acre), but the Oxbridge was not yet fit, so Mr Fowlie hoped to be back into wheat tomorrow.

He had drilled all of his rape, having missed out on the worst of the rain, but farmers across Aberdeenshire still had half their spring barley to cut, and 90-95% of their wheat, he said.


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