Harvest Highlights: northern crops holding on well

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

As growers in northern parts of the UK begin harvest, crops appear to have fared slightly better than those in the drought-affected south, according to latest reports.

Winter barley harvest started a week to ten days ahead of normal near Kelso in the Scottish Borders, Stuart Fuller-Shapcott told FWi Harvest Highlights from his combine.

“Things have come on very quickly over recent weeks. It’s only the second time in 20 years we’ve been combining this early – we normally don’t start until the end of the month.” But wheat is still a long way off, with crops looking a healthy shade of “John Deere green”, he said.

Michael Manners near Durham began combining oilseed rape today and is pleased that seed looks bigger than last year. While wheat looks like it will be ready about a week earlier than usual, the grain seems to have filled reasonably well, he added.

Near Hereford, Jamie Rogers thinks he will be into his 162ha of promising looking wheat tomorrow (26 July). “We don’t normally expect to start wheat until the first week in August.”

He is reasonably pleased with the 47ha of Castille oilseed rape which came in at 3.78t/ha (30cwt/acre) and 7.5% moisture.

Further south, wheat harvest has almost finished on the Sentry Farming Group’s Godstone Hill Farm, near Guildford, Nathan Kilby reported.

Despite the “exceptionally early” finish, and light land with a tendency to burn up quickly, yields have been extremely good. Some 48ha of Robigus did 9.25t/ha at 12-13% moisture and 32ha of Claire averaged 9t/ha, he said.

Robin Appel’s barley buyer Jonathan Arnold said winter barley harvest was nearly finished across the south, with “extraordinarily mixed” results. “There has been a tendency for higher nitrogens in Pearl, while Flagon has been more consistent. It appears to be a true malting type.

Early signs for the spring crop are encouraging, despite some fears by other commentators, he noted. “On the chalk-based soils they’ve kept going pretty well, although it might be a different story on the Cotswold brash.”

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