Harvest 2004: Patience pushed

HEAVY SHOWERS are continuing to hamper progress through the 2004 barley crop.

Few combines were running on Monday (July 19) after many growers received a soaking over the weekend, and some are beginning to lose their patience.

“I‘m getting frustrated by the weather,” Herts farm manager Tim Whitehead told FARMERS WEEKLY Harvest Highlights.

“With the barley being late, we‘re going to have to turn things around a bit quicker.”

With just one load of his 100ha (250 acres) of Siberia winter barley cut, the combines were called back and the farm workforce is now painting sheds.

“The casual workers are getting frustrated too – they want to get on.”

A storm on Saturday (July 17) emptied 20mm of rain in just half an hour onto Sam Fairs‘ oilseed rape crop in Suffolk.

“This weather isn‘t very helpful” he said.

In Essex grower Tim Cooper has started his Expert oilseed rape crop, yielding 3.7t/ha (1.5t/acre), but patchiness has proven to be a problem.

“In the worst places we had to rip up the crop and re-drill with peas,” he said.

But in Wiltshire David Hues is very happy with a 7.41-9.88 t/ha (3-4 t/acre) crop of Siberia barley.

“Things are going very well. This is the best year ever”

While in Dorset Richard King is also busy harvesting – the new hybrid Colossus makes up his entire 40ha (100 acre) barley crop and is yielding well at 8.65t/ha – 9.88 t/ha (3.5 – 4 t/acre).

“I‘ve put all my eggs in one basket this year. The crop is a little bit patchy- but this isn‘t really a problem.”

Conditions are set to get warmer, according to FWi Weather Services, but the risk of heavy showers remains.

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