Harvest 09: Slow progress in the West

Harvest is progressing very slowly in the West of England and Wales, with almost incessant rain keeping combines at a standstill.

Cannington Grain at Bridgwater had only received 2000t of oilseed rape, 2000t of winter barley and 200t of oats by today (4 August) – well behind a normal year.

Store manager Ian Eastwood said the oilseed rape had been generally pleasing, with high oil contents and reasonable yields.

“The barley has very good bushelweights, but is just starting to look a bit weathered.”

Most cereals were coming in at 17-20% moisture, with rapeseed averaging 13-18% moisture.

Devon Grain had seen even less, but Kernow Grain had made a good start with oilseed rape and barley last month, said Mr Eastwood.

“Everybody has got their fingers crossed for a good end to the week. Most people are pretty downbeat at the moment.”

Some wheat had been cut in the Taunton area, and crops were generally ripe and ready to go.

“If we do get a dry slot it will be a case of not knowing what’s coming in next – it could be rape, barley or wheat.”

In Shropshire, very little had been cut, and a few crops of Alchemy winter wheat were showing signs of sprouting, said Julian Walker of Shropshire Grain.

“There are loads of fields that are just half done.” Winter barley and oilseed rape harvest was only about 25% complete, and the rapeseed was coming off well, he said.

“We are still buying old crop wheat – I can never remember getting to the end of July without having bought some grain that’s actually been harvested.”

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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.

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