Harvest Highlights: Wet weather continues to disrupt harvest

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As rain showers are forecast for much of the country over the weekend, growers are becoming increasingly frustrated, while quality begins to concern many.

We’re cutting one day a week at the moment. At the present speed we look to finish at the end of September,” said Robin Baines in Norfolk. With 75% of winter wheat still to cut, yields were varying from 7.5-12.5t/ha (3-5t/ac).

Heavy showers and thunderstorms were making harvest progress slowly for Kent farmer Clive Apps. With 6-7mm of rain coming from each shower, and from heavy storms last night, he said they were not likely to be cutting today.

“The trouble is the main worry is the quality – it is literally disappearing overnight.”

Bill Harbour, also in Kent, had 83mm of rain in the past week, which meant harvest was going slowly. But the majority of bushel weights were above 80kg/hl, and he was not too concerned for remaining crop quality providing it was all cut by next week.

Alistair Pinkerton in Hertforshire had not cut anything for 10 days and the remaining Consort wheat was starting to look a bit black. “We’re starting to get concerned now. We need a few more dry days to get it in but just had another rain storm this morning.”

Suffolk farmer Gerald Godfrey shared the concerns. “Quality seems good so things are not too bad at the moment, but it does depend on whether this rain goes on.”  Farmers around Beccles were combining yesterday at 19% moisture, although it was too wet for him to cut.

He added: “We thought harvest was going to be early due to the drought, but now it’s not – nature has got a funny way of balancing things up!”

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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