Harvest Highlights – Sunshine desperately needed for Bedfordshire harvest

Bedfordshire grower Brian Shaw has temporarily stopped combining winter barley, after knocking down around 80ha (200 acres) of Carat earlier this week at Barton Hill Farm, Lilley.

“We’d started, but have temporarily stopped, partly due to the rain, partly because nothing else is ready,” he told FWi Harvest Highlights today [Friday 13 July].

Two 40ha (100 acre) blocks of Carat winter barley had yielded 7t/ha (2.8 t/acre) and 7.5t/ha (3t/acre) respectively, which was similar to last year. “The second bit was a bit better than expected, while the first was a bit disappointing. It was reasonable, but I wasn’t expecting any thing wonderful because we had no sunshine to finish it off. We desperately need some sun.”

Re-growth was a significant problem, he said. “Both were full of re-growth, and the majority had Roundup (glyphosate). We had three crops in one, but unfortunately you don’t get three yields in one.”

All the later maturing tillers had been some way off being fit, while some of the crop was over-ripe. “It looked pretty indifferent, and it makes moisture contents pretty irrelevant this year.”

But he still hoped it might make malting. “I’ve blown some air through it, and am now running it through the dresser to tidy it up.”

Nitrogen would be tested once processing was completed, he said.

Flagon malting barley was likely to come next. “We tried some yesterday, but it was 16% moisture and a dull day. I want to store it close to the field, and don’t have any drying facilities there. One good day of sun will bring it down to 15%, and it’s not hurting at the moment, so I thought I could afford to wait.”

Oilseed rape should be fit the middle of next week. “It’s very slow to desiccate – taking three weeks in the absence of hot sun.”

* Harvest Highlights 2007 is sponsored by RAGT.


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