Harvest round-up: Making the most of the weather

Farmers are making the most of the better weather to get the remains of harvest in the barn, although some areas are still too damp to cut.

In Yorkshire, Jon Hodgson had had a disappointing harvest at Great Newsome Farm, South Frodingham, having faced recent flood damage and poor yields.

“We’ve only got 8ha of Odyssey spring barley left to cut – and although it looks well we’ve lost 0.3ha to flood damage,” he said.

“In mid-August we had two inches of rain in a week and the Holderness drainage ditches flooded. The waters have receded now but it’s deeply frustrating as we grow the barley for our own brewery on the farm.”

Further north, harvest was about 80% complete in the Perthshire / Angus area – well ahead of normal and the earliest since at least 2003.

“It’s going pretty well really,” said Robin Barron general manager at East of Scotland Farmers. “Yields and quality have been good, and certainly a lot better than the past two years.”

Harvest in Somerset was almost complete, although further west farmers still had 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.”

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

In contrast, over in Suffolk Stuart Baker finished harvest three weeks ago at Ivy House Farm, Woodbridge, and was delighted – if somewhat perplexed – with how it went.

“It was nice to finish so early, and yields were absolutely fantastic – we didn’t cut a single cereal crop below 10t/ha,” he said.

Diego, grown as a second wheat, yielded 11.9-12.05t/ha, but the first wheats – comprising Viscount, Kielder and Santiago – only ranged from 11.7-12.4t/ha.

“As ridiculous as it sounds, that’s a bit disappointing,” said Mr Baker. “Considering the second wheat did 11.9t, the first wheats should have done 1t/ha more than that, and they didn’t.”

On the other side of the country, John Wilcox was busy grain carting today (2 September) at Batch Acre Hall, Stratford, Staffordshire, and hoped to finish the final 7ha of wheat tomorrow.

“It wants cutting now – it’s surprising how it has deteriorated over the past 10 days; it doesn’t want any more rain,” he said.

Yields, however, had been exceptional, with Gallant and Crusoe averaging 10t/ha and feed wheats 11.4t/ha. “The Gallant probably won’t make the milling grade as its protein is between 9% and 12%,” said Mr Wilcox.

“But the Crusoe came in at almost 12% so it should make some premium.”

 

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