Harvest Highlights: Rain dampens many harvests

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Combines have been driven to a halt as rain showers sweep areas of the country. Growers in the north, south and east have suffered from torrential rain over the weekend, but some in the west and Scotland still have had no rain since June.

Yorkshire farmer Phil Dowson started cutting Zebedee wheat on Saturday (Aug 12), but rain stopped progress after 10ha. The crop was coming off at 19% moisture, but he hoped the quality of remaining crops would not be affected by the rain.

“It’s not a great forecast so we will be concerned if we don’t get some more wheat cut by the weekend.”

Nick Pratt in Norfolk said wheat progress had been good until he was rained off on Friday (11 Aug). “We’ve had 55mm of rain since 3pm Friday and had 76mm in August so far.” Yields exceeded expectations, but he hoped for a settled period and that wheat quality had not gone after the rain.

Brian Mummery had been held back by the rain in Kent, having had an inch and a half of rain over the weekend. “It looks a bit grim this morning. But I’ve been farming for 50 years and so I don’t get too desperate when it rains.”

However, Scottish grower Mike Cumming had not been affected by the wet weather. “We’re going along quite nicely. It is 22 degrees today and a beautiful day with a light breeze.” With only 2mm of rain in August crops were very dry.

Reports were similar in Wales where NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond said, “We’ve not had a spit of rain since June.” Wheat yields were down by 1.25t/ha (0.5t/ac) on last year due to the dry weather, while spring barley was down by 0.5t/ha (0.2t/ac). But he said torrential rain had been forecast in the area for the next week.

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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