Harvest nears completion in West Country

Harvest in Somerset is almost complete, although farmers further west still have a bit left to do, according to Ian Eastwood, marketing manager at West Country Grain.

“Somerset is pretty much done and dusted – there’s just the odd pocket of wheat, with some spring barley, beans, linseed and spring oats left,” he said.

“In Devon there’s a little bit more, and in Cornwall there’s more again to do. It’s not a huge amount, but it’s significant for those farmers who haven’t finished. They’ll be hoping the more settled weather will help this week.”

Despite the recent rain showers, most crops had held up well, he added. “Anything that’s still left to cut is likely to look a bit more weathered, but the cooler temperatures would have slowed any damage.”

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Wheat and spring barley had performed very well, with oats proving reasonable as well, said Mr Eastwood. “It’s been a pretty good harvest in terms of quality and quantity – it’s just a shame about the price.”

Most crops came in dry throughout July, although more had required drying in August. “Further west the moistures have been higher, but there’s been nothing like the 20% we had last year, which is a good saving.”

Bushel weights and appearance of wheat samples had been good, and protein was slightly higher than in some other areas, at 12-12.5%, said Mr Eastwood.

“Barley bushel weights started off a bit low but have picked up a bit – at an average of 65kg/hl they’re well within specification.”

Although there had not been as many beans grown in the area as usual, yields and quality had been good, he added. “Yields are around 3.7-5t/ha and although there’s a little bit of bruchid beetle damage the samples look nice.”

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