Harvest 09: Desperate in Lothian

James Drury hoped to be combining spring rape at Spott Estate, East Lothian, this afternoon (7 September), but ground conditions are still saturated.

After being rained off last Wednesday, he measured 128mm of rain between 11pm and lunchtime on Friday.

“The rain was incessant. We had wheat fields where only the ears were just above water and newly emerged oilseed rape under 5ft of water.”

Yesterday, in desperation, he cut some spring rape at 20% moisture, as it was starting to shatter on exposed slopes. “We were cutting above water in low lying areas.

“Overall, it has done alright, with a lot yielding 1t/acre (2.5t/ha), but in places 30% of it is on the floor.”

With a brighter day today, Mr Drury hoped to finish off the 20ha (50 acres) of rape, but needed at least two dry days before making a start on the wheat.

“The fields are barely passable and once again heavy machinery is leaving its mark. It is very frustrating seeing good wheat crops battered by appalling weather conditions and knowing we are powerless to do anything about it.”

Fortunately, most of the 251ha (620 acres) of Alchemy and 100ha (250 acres) of Consort were still standing.

“When we can we will go like stink to finish off, and pray that conditions are favourable for drilling our next crop.”

The new flagship New Holland CR9090 had made a catchy harvest much easier, clearing 57ha (140 acres) of wheat in a day, with spot output rates of over 100t/hour, said Mr Drury.

Before the rain, he had finished cutting Oxbridge and Appaloosa spring barley, which did well at about 7.2t/ha (2.9t/acre) and 100% germination.

Cassata winter barley suffered in the spring drought, yielding about 7.4t/ha (3t/acre) on lighter land, with Pearl averaging 9.9t/ha (4t/acre) on heavier ground.

The 24ha (60 acres) of Alchemy winter wheat cut so far had yielded extremely well, with one 16ha (40 acre) field producing 14.85t/ha (6t/acre) off the combine.

“It was unbelievable – I had to check the meter on the combine. But the rest won’t be so good as it was drilled so much later.”

Crop: Winter wheat
Variety: Alchemy
Area: 24ha (60 acres)
Yield: Up to 14.85t/ha (6t/acre)

Crop: Spring barley
Varieties: Appaloosa and Oxbridge
Yield: 7.2t/ha (2.9t/acre)

Crop: Winter barley
Varieties: Pearl and Cassata
Yield: 7.4-9.9t/ha (3-4t/acre)

 syngenta seeds logo

Duxford winter wheat is an HGCA Recommended List 2009/10 variety with very high UK treated yields and a maximum 9 rating for resistance to lodging with and without PGR. Combined with the highest second wheat yield and a balanced disease resistance profile, Duxford will continue to help UK growers meet the challenge of producing more grain profitably.

Go to the Syngenta Seeds website



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