Harvest Highlights: rain fails to dampen spirits after early start

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Rain in many areas yesterday (31 July) and today has not concerned growers – many of which are reporting harvest progress around two weeks ahead of normal.

Keith Snowball, contractor from York believes that this year is a record breaking year for the start of wheat harvest. “I have never started wheat this early in the year”.

The recent hot weather also meant that instead of waiting the usual 14 days between desiccating oilseed rape and harvest, combining was able to start eight days after spraying, he said.

Yesterday’s and today’s rain has given Hereford farmer Jamie Rogers chance to get on with other jobs around the farm.

Oilseed rape has had its ups and downs this year after Expert came in at 3.7t/ha (1.5t/acre) and Castille yielded a disappointing 3t/ha (1.2t/acre). He put this down to the crop being drilled into heavy, cloddy, dry land last autumn.

Farmers Weekly Lincolnshire barometer farmer Ben Atkinson said wheat harvesting is going well so far with pleasing yields and quality. Landwork is also going well, he said.

“Both Challengers are getting towards the end of the ex-oilseed rape land. Perhaps we’ll start rape drilling next week.”

Wheat has varied on Edward Whitfield’s farm with Hereward yielding 7.4-9.3t/ha (3-3.75t/acre) and Cordiale doing a “very poor” 6t/ha (2.5t/acre).

But quality was above average, with both varieties coming in at a bushel weight of 78-80kg/hl at 12-13% moisture.

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