Floods cause concern for seed crops

Flooding has been the biggest concern for Herefordshire farmer Phillip Gorringe, who grows cereals and grass for seed production.

Just a small amount (50t) of Camion winter barley had been cut so far, at a “mediocre” yield of 6.2t/ha (2.5t/acre). “It suffered from the lack of water in April, which meant it was very short. Ironically we were quite pleased about this, given how much rain we’ve had.”

Some had lodged after 50-75mm (2-3in) of rain last Friday (20 July), but with around 120ha (300acres) of pre-basic seed varieties in the ground, Mr Gorringe feared continued wet weather could have serious knock-on effects for next season’s seed availability.

His grass seed crops were a big concern. “Most are now coming fit, but they’re starting to grow through. Even if it stays dry, the ground conditions are going to be a real problem.”

Wheat was still some way off being fit to harvest and he was surprised how well crops had stood up to the rain. “I haven’t seen any chitting in the ear yet, but I suspect it’s only a matter of time if this weather continues.”

Vining peas were the only potential saving grace in what had been a very difficult season, he said. “There is a fantastic crop there, if we can ever get them. They might prove to be a highlight.”

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