Harvest Highlights: Concern for low moisture in crops

Send us you views on harvest progress/ prospects: Karen.willmer@rbi.co.uk

After the record temperatures of yesterday (19 July) around the country, growers were generally concerned for the moisture content of their crops. While some were surprised by decent moisture levels, others feared yield and quality would have been affected.

Duncan Whiteman said moisture levels of Camion winter barley were a “disappointing” 10.5% in Shropshire. He feared specific weight was likely to be low because of the low moisture. “We never combine when it is that dry.” Yield was down on last year due to the weight loss.

FW Barometer farmer Nigel Horne from Berkshire said his Sequel winter barley was very dry at 12% moisture and the sample “did not look particularly bold”. But he was happy with the yield of 8.5 – 9t/ha, although he was concerned both oilseed rape and winter wheat were “turning very quickly” in the heat.

Grain trading manager Andrew Sedgwick said moisture content was a problem for oilseed rape in the East Midlands. “Whereas the minimum should be 6% moisture, we’re getting some in down at 3.5%.” He said farmers were combining at night in order to retain moisture, and suggested blowing in some humidity if using floor storage.

Farmers remained concerned for their wheat crops with some predicting harvest would be up to a fortnight ahead of usual.

Catherine Thompson in York said wheat was likely to be “very much earlier than usual”, despite having looked promising a few weeks ago.

John Wilcox shared the concern, expecting winter wheat to be a week to ten days ahead. He said some crops were shrivelled and not ripening in patches. “There are nice big heads on some, but yields are going to be down. I hoped it would weigh 7.5t/ha but it wont.”

Find out how Farmers Weekly’s barometer growers are getting on with harvest in our new Barometers’ Blog

See FWi’s Harvest Highlights section for the regional reports in full and more from around the country, updated every day.

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