Harvest round-up: Getting frustrated

Variable weather conditions are dividing the nation, with farmers in the North apparently getting on better with the last of harvest than those further south.

In Scotland, Iain Green had had the easiest harvest in memory at Corskie Farm, Garmouth, Morayshire, having finished almost three weeks ago.

“It wasn’t a bumper harvest, but it was certainly easy,” he said. “We bought a new drier and never had to switch it on, which was a huge saving in drying costs.”

Harvest in the North East of England and Scottish Borders was almost complete, with just a few parcels of spring barley, spring rape and winter wheat left to gather, said Gary Bright, managing director at Grainco.

“The weather has been holding very well, and compared to recent harvests, it’s been very pleasant.” However, yields were nothing to write home about, with wheat at 6.2-7.4t/ha and barley around 6.2t/ha, he added.

“But earlier in the year a lot of farmers wondered if they would have a crop to cut at all, so even though yields are poor and markets are going the wrong way – it could be worse.”

In Lincolnshire, Andrew Jackson was combining the last of his spring oilseed rape at Pink Pig Farm, Holme, today (23 September).

“We’ve only got a small patch so I guess we’ll get about 15 tonnes off it,” he said. “Overall, with the Excalibur winter rape included, we should average about 3.07t/ha.”

He had now got 60% of the winter wheat sown, and planned to start drilling winter barley today.

Further south in Berkshire, Charlie Edgley was also busy drilling at Kensham Farm, Cadmore End, but the soil was only just dry enough to work.

“Thankfully, we finished harvest a week ago, but at that time a friend had 324ha of spring wheat, oilseed rape and beans left to cut near Great Missenden, and a contractor I know had 400ha left to do as well,” he said.

Since then, it had rained almost daily, so farmers with crops left to cut in the area were finding conditions very frustrating.

James Chamberlain was one farmer dealing with those frustrations, finding it too wet to combine today at Glebe Farm, Shardlow, Derbyshire.

“We finished the bulk of harvest by the end of August, but we had 60ha of spring wheat, which we haven’t been able to get,” he said.

“There’s a surprising amount left to cut around here – there are beans, linseed, spring rape; and then a significant number of wheat fields left – harvest is by no means wrapped up.”


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