Harvest Highlights: welcome progress as rain holds off

A welcome break in the weather has allowed growers to get on with harvest in many parts of southern England, according to reports today (19 July).

Moisture contents in many barley crops are still quite high, but progress has been made with oilseed rape.

In Winchester, Tom Coleman started combining Expert oilseed rape yesterday and had cleared 24ha so far. He was happy with overall progress and expected yields to come in close to the 3.75t/ha which his 44ha of Castille averaged.

“It’s not exactly been an ideal growing season and I would like more sunshine,” he commented.

By contrast, oilseed rape harvest had finished for Jonathon Tipples of Reed Court Farm, Marden in Kent. He managed to get all of his 48ha (120 acres) of Expert oilseed rape cut, despite catchy weather and reports of serious hail damage nearby.

Yields were about average at 3.75- 4 t/ha (1.5-1.6 t/acre), with 42-43% oil content and 13.5% moisture.

The problems with hail were highlighted by Kent farmer and NFU county chairman Chris Holder. He said hailstones “the size of golf balls” fell last Sunday, virtually wiping out many crops in the Romney Marsh area.

“It’s been disastrous, particularly for rape, as pods have suffered severe shedding. Many farmers have reported 80-90% losses, and in some cases it’s up to 100%. In one crop I’ve seen, it’s a job to find a pod that’s still whole.”

No such problems for Somerset farmer Jeremy Hadden, who was relieved to at last be making some progress with his oilseed rape harvest, but, like many growers across the country, was frustrated with the constant showery weather.

“We’ve been smashing it in between the showers” he said.

* If you’ve got a harvest story then call our dedicated harvest reporter David Kemp on 020 8652 4073. You can also get involved on the new FWiSpace forums where you can chat directly with other farmers and share the high and lows of what is shaping up to be a challenging summer.

You can also share your harvest pictures by sending them to david.kemp@rbi.co.uk who will make sure they appear on our dedicated Harvest Highlights 2007 Picture Gallery (www.fwi.co.uk/Community/photos/harvesthighlights)

If you prefer, we can set you up with your own gallery where you can upload pictures at any time to share them with other farmers.

We are hoping to print a selection of the best harvest pictures submitted each week in Farmers Weekly magazine. Please be aware that for use in the magazine we will need pictures to be taken using the highest quality setting on your camera.

RAGT logo

RAGT Seeds are pleased to sponsor Harvest Highlights.

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Robust wheats: Varieties that can be relied on to produce high yields of consistently high quality grain, year-in, year-out.

For more information on our varieties visit www.ragt.co.uk