Harvest round-up: Combines race to beat the rain

Farmers have been frantically combining whenever possible, ahead of forecast storms this weekend, with some now into the final stretch of harvest.

In Yorkshire, Tim Westgarth’s harvest has just been rained off at Holmedale Valley Ltd, Richmond, but he hoped to be back on combining again soon.

“It was just a quick shower, so as long as there’s not another rain cloud behind it we should be going again later today (8 August),” he said.

“We finished cutting oilseed rape last night; we rushed the last bit because the forecast wasn’t too good.”

As a result of the heavy rain forecast, the HGCA has warned winter wheat growers to be aware of the increased mycotoxin risk.

“With the winter wheat harvest well underway, HGCA is reminding growers to keep track of rainfall for their mycotoxin risk assessment, following the onset of more unsettled weather,” said the association’s Dr Dhan Bhandari.

“When grain from different parts of a farm has different risk scores, it is important to keep it segregated if at all possible.”

But the rain would not hamper Charles Martin, who had finished combining winter wheat at Mill House Farm, Abbotts Langley, Hertfordshire, and hoped to put the combine away tonight.

“We finished cutting wheat last night at 10pm – and we’ve just got 4ha of dodgy looking oilseed rape to finish off today,” he said.

“We had a rain shower this morning which didn’t stop us – I had sprayed it off so it’s running through the combine fairly easily.”

See also: All the news, videos and harvest resources on our Harvest Highlights page.

Across in Gloucestershire, Chris Padfield was also combining today at The Hawthorns, Staunton, and was now halfway through his wheat harvest.

“It’s going very well – last week we were cutting wheat at 13-13.5% moisture, which is too dry really, but this week after the showers it’s been 16-16.5%,” he said.

Yields had been very good, with Dickens out-yielding the Diego, and both weighing in specific weights in the low 80s kg/hl.

In Surrey, Giles Porter is nearing the end of harvest at Penn Croft Farms, Farnham, having virtually not stopped since he began on 12 July.

“It’s going very well – we’ve been cracking on at a reasonable pace and have missed most of the rain,” he said. “It’s been pretty full-on.”

Wheat yields had been generally very pleasing, with all fields doing 10t/ha or more over the weighbridge, and the best going a shade over 11t/ha. “For us, that’s amazing,” he said.

See more