Harvest 2004: Rape underway

OILSEED RAPE harvest is finally underway for a number of growers across the south.

Despite difficulties with establishment in the autumn, most are happy with results so far.

“I‘m happy, it‘s combining very well,” Kent grower Martin Boulden told FARMERS WEEKLY Harvest Highlights on Tuesday (July 20).

His 35ha (90 acre) crop of Caracas was coming off the field at 10% moisture and he estimated yield at between 3.71 – 4.32 t/ha (30-35 cwt/acre).

“The crop has established very well, apart from one corner of a field.”

But in Berks Colin Raynor is not having a happy harvest .

“We lost 200ha (500 acres) of rape and re-drilled it with beans which are now flat as a pancake,” he said.

Wiltshire‘s Joss Stratton has had an excellent start to harvest and has just started his rape crop, which is coming off at 14% moisture.

“It‘s looking fine but it‘s badly laid due to the strong winds three weeks ago,” he said.

Winner rape is being harvested by Dorset‘s Jason Turnbull, who says that harvest there is on schedule.

“I‘m glad that I now have the time to get on with the cultivations,” he said.

In Wiltshire James Dean is glad he decided against ploughing up his 240ha (600 acres) rape crop that he is about to start combining.

“Its amazing how it‘s evened up so well,” he said.

And possibly the biggest fleet of combines in the UK have started harvesting seed plots on the RAGT farm near Cambridge.

“We normally run about eight (combines), and can push to 12 at a stretch, but we have a total of 20 sitting in the shed,” said farm manager Harry Henderson.

More heavy showers, the worst of which are expected in the north, are due to settle in overnight and continue to push westwards on Wednesday (July 20), according to FWi Weather Services.