Flooded out near York

Torrential rain is making life hard work for Catherine Thompson at Holme House, Holme on Spalding Moor, Yorkshire, but at least she has finished harvest.

“I had to bring a poorly calf in in the most atrocious weather, and then we had another 5-10mm last night (27 September), so we have had to house all the rest of the cows,” she said.

“We have a small river running through the farm and it’s backed up the dykes to come out all over the fields.

“I drilled some winter barley on Saturday and now it’s flooded – the only reason we drilled that field is because we couldn’t travel on the fields it was meant to go into,” she added.

“We’re on heavy clay here and it’s far too wet to plough now – I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Harvest was pretty dreadful, with the exception of oilseed rape, which was about average, and winter barley, which was surprisingly good.

“Usually we’re pleased with 7.4t/ha, but the Volume yielded a good 8.6t/ha, so we were very happy.”

However, wheat yielded well below 7.4t/ha, compared to the more normal 8.6t/ha, and spring crops were dreadful, said Mrs Thompson.

“Spring peas, vining peas and oilseed rape were an unmitigated disaster. It’s a real shame as my father’s been here 50 years this year and it would have been nice to have a harvest to celebrate.

“It looked fabulous in March, and then we got fusarium and foot rot – we had eight inches of rain in June and the first week of July.

“The cows were marooned this morning, so are housed now – they were galloping through the floodwater to come in.

“So it’s going to be a long seven-month winter at least,” she added. “Fortunately, there was a cracking straw yield, which helps.”

However, there were still quite a few fields of cereals in the area left to cut.

“Thank goodness we’ve finished – we struggled with the combine and there are trenches where the combine sank which are now full of water.

“We’ve got to lift potatoes next week, so that will be interesting.”

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