Harvest Highlights: Rain frustrates farmers

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Growers are getting frustrated as more rain showers continue to sweep the country, hindering harvest progress. The wet weather is also beginning to cause concern for crop quality and Hagberg levels of remaining crops.

Wye College’s Andrew Ferguson in Kent had struggled to make progress since August 6 due to sporadic rain showers. Moisture levels were at 15-17% but he said since August 11 they had not dropped much below 20%.

“We’re only 40% into the wheat. We may have to kiss goodbye to quality in the last 10ha of Hereward.”

He expected harvest to be on hold until at least August 21 due to forecast showers.

Harvest was going “intermittently” for Hertforshire grower Tim Whitehead, who had to catch some combining between showers. With more heavy rain forecast he was getting frustrated with only four more days of combining needed.

“If this weather carries on I shall be concerned for the quality of the crops.”

Further north, the picture was similar. Hamish Forbes in Moray had cut all winter barley had been cut but he had been waiting for Optic and Troon spring barley to be ripe for cutting. “It is just becoming ready now but it is looking very variable.” But everything was now damp from the showers.

Paul Philips in Wales was also suffering from the rain in Newtown. “It’s chucking it down so there will be no progress today.” He had cut all his winter barley and was waiting for the rain to stop in order to start cutting his oats. Fifty percent of his arable crop was Gerald winter oats. “It is always our best crop.”

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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