Frustrated by showers in Herefordshire

Philip Gorringe has only just started harvest at Lower Blakemere Farm, Blakemere, Herefordshire, and is extremely frustrated with the showery weather.

“Nothing was fit when the weather was good – we made hay but that was it,” he said. “We’ve just started in winter barley and grass seed, and now we’re getting lots of showers – it’s so frustrating.”

The 12ha of winter barley cut so far had been very badly damaged in the winter floods, so it was more a case of clearing the field than filling the barn, said Mr Gorringe.

“We’ve also cut 12ha of grass seed, which looks promising, but it wants getting, and we’ve just been rained off again.”

See also: How to plan cropping under new greening rules.

All the crops were ripening at the same time, which was adding to the challenge. “Most oilseed rape and some winter barley has been cut in the area, with a little but of wheat combined too,” said Mr Gorringe.

“The wheat is barely fit – some people were cutting it at the weekend but it was still 18% moisture, so maybe if we get a week of decent weather it will be ready.”

Winter wheat, drilled in November, looked reasonable but not record-breaking, while winter barley was very variable.

“The crops drilled at the right time look awful because the floodwater just washed the plants out of the ground,” he said. “But the barley drilled in March actually looks very good.”

Last year, the farm had almost 60 inches of rain, with a further 25 inches between January and June, added Mr Gorringe.

“Some of the fields were really not very pretty. I think it’s high time we had a year when everything went according to plan.”

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