Harvest relief in Herefordshire

Philip Gorringe is making good progress with harvest at Lower Blakemere Farm, Blakemere, Herefordshire, after a very late start.

“I’m in the last block of wheat today (8 September) and have just one more field of very late-drilled winter barley to do, which is a bit of a salvage job and best not spoken about very much,” he said.

Having finished combining in October last year, Mr Gorringe had struggled to get this year’s crops drilled, and ended up sowing the Cassia winter barley in March.

“We cut one field last week, which yielded 7.4t/ha,” he said. “But this field, planted a week later, didn’t vernalise properly and will probably not do 1.2t/ha.

“In fairness, I didn’t expect very much from it – I didn’t want to drill any more peas and had the seed, so just put it in the ground.”

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Kielder had topped the wheat yields, with Target also doing reasonably well as a first wheat. But later-drilled second wheats Grafton, Cordiale and Target would not break any records, added Mr Gorringe.

“I didn’t drill them thick enough, and they haven’t compensated as well as I’d hoped.”

However, no wheats had yielded particularly well in the area, despite looking extremely well, he added. “Fortunately, we didn’t have too much disease here, so I managed to save on some fungicide costs.”

The grass seed looked to have yielded well, and Starlight vining peas had also been pleasing, averaging 3.7t/ha despite going into poor conditions. “Charlie vining peas on some very ordinary fields did 2.5t/ha.”

Willow spring wheat – which had been autumn drilled – proved very mixed, yielding 6.2t/ha in the best places and considerably less elsewhere.

“It’s just a relief to be combining in dry conditions for the first time in three years,” said Mr Gorringe. “Combining in wellies isn’t my idea of fun, so I’m glad to have a dry year and get a bit of a shine back on the combine.”

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