Harvest Highlights: north – south split widens

Growers eager to get on with harvest in northern parts of the UK continued to struggle with wet weather today (31 August), however better progress has been made in the south.

Steady drizzle prevented combines from rolling all week in Northern Ireland. In Ballykelly, Robert Craig was “champing at the bit” to get started on his spring barley, which he expected to yield 6.2-7.4t/ha (2.5-3t/acre).

Wheat harvest was about 40-50% done in the area, with spring barley about 20% through, he said.

Harvest had also ground to a halt at Jim Macfarlane’s farm near Berwick-Upon-Tweed, as the wheat was not ripe. ”We just need a bit of patience,” he said. “Traditionally wheat harvest in this area is a September job – we’ve just been spoilt with a few early years.”

Further south in Yorkshire, James Chamberlain expected to finish harvest on Sunday night (2 September) if the weather stayed dry. Wheat yields were 10% down, but better than expected, and the spring barley had yielded 6.8t/ha (2.75t/acre) so far.

Wheat yields were 10-14% down in Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire, according to agronomist Justin Blackwood. Quality was also very variable, with some low proteins and Hagbergs ranging from 160-240, he said.

In the southwest, harvest was almost complete, and malting barley quality had proven quite reasonable, said Robert Leachman of Wessex Grain. Winter barleys had a good grain size, but spring barleys had lower than usual bushel weights at 60-63kg/hl. Nitrogens were generally usable, he added.

Both winter and spring barley performed brilliantly at Ed Lankfer’s farm in Norfolk, where he finished combining the winter wheat last night. The 180ha (444 acres) of wheat averaged 7.4t/ha (3t/acre), and Mr Lankfer hoped to finish off his spring beans this afternoon.

To read any of these reports in full, or see more from around the UK, visit FWi’s Harvest Highlights 2007.

* If you’ve got a harvest story then call us on 020 8652 4082. 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 this year’s challenging summer.You can also share your harvest pictures by sending them to us, to 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.

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