Harvest Highlights: frustration grows as yields fail to impress

Some further harvest progress has been made today (25 July) in southern and eastern areas, but further west growers have again been unable to venture onto waterlogged soils.

Reports suggest that yields of oilseed rape in particular have suffered from the combination of a wet summer and exceptionally dry April.

Yields are not looking wonderful this year,” Lincolnshire grower Robert Naylor said. He had done 10ha of Astrid when he spoke to Farmers Weekly earlier today and was frustrated with progress. “It’s disappointing the weather is against us,” he said.

Cambridgeshire grower John Goodchild said his oilseed rape on light land had been worst hit by the spring drought, although crops on heavier land had fared much better. Yields ranged from 1.25t/ha to 3.9t/ha.

Like growers across most of the country, Mr Goodchild said progress had been very slow as he had to pick combining opportunities between the showers.

David Hinchliffe in Yorkshire described the oilseed rape cut so far as: “not brilliant, but it’s not disastrous”. He was eager to finish the rape harvest, as he expected his Cordiale wheat to be ready within the next week.

But Nick Dunford, who farms on light, chalky soil, near Andover in Hampshire was relatively pleased with his Castille oilseed rape, which did 3.7t/ha. He also expected his wheat to be another week away, and hoped for an improvement in the weather.

“Oh for the sun of the harvest of 2006. Progress is very stressful.”

That was certainly a view shared by Farmers Weekly Farmer Focus writer Richard Ward of Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire. Rain had prevented him from starting harvest and today he was busy fitting dual wheels to his combine.

* If you’ve got a harvest story then call our dedicated harvest reporter David Kemp on 020 8652 4073. You can also get involved on the new FWiSpace forums where you can chat directly with other farmers and share the high and lows of what is shaping up to be a challenging summer.

 You can also share your harvest pictures by sending them to david.kemp@rbi.co.uk who will make sure they appear on our dedicated Harvest Highlights 2007 Picture Gallery

If you prefer, we can set you up with your own gallery where you can upload pictures at any time to share them with other farmers.

We are hoping to print a selection of the best harvest pictures submitted each week in Farmers Weekly magazine. Please be aware that for use in the magazine we will need pictures to be taken using the highest quality setting on your camera.

RAGT logo

RAGT Seeds are pleased to sponsor Harvest Highlights.

Robust wheats from the PBIC brand are brought to you by RAGT Seeds, offering you the security of consistent performance, a critical factor in maximising output in an increasingly uncertain farming environment.
Robust wheats: Varieties that can be relied on to produce high yields of consistently high quality grain, year-in, year-out.

For more information on our varieties visit www.ragt.co.uk

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