Harvest round-up: Many combines on hold

Combines remain at a standstill across southern England after heavy rain, with other farmers on hold as they wait for crops to ripen.

In the South, wheat harvest was about 25% complete, and early indications of yields were good, according to Mike Clay at Hampshire Grain.

“The bushel weights and yields are good, with many people talking of 79-82kg/hl and 10-12t/ha – but protein is lower than normal,” he said.

“We’d normally expect group one varieties to test at 13-13.5% protein, but about 50% are between 12% and 13%, with the rest at around 11.5%.”

In Gloucestershire, Tim Morris was getting on extremely well with combining at Coneygar Farm, Cirencester, with harvest now more than halfway through.

“We were stopped by rain this morning (5 August), but all the crops have come in dry – we haven’t had to use the drier at all,” he said.

Propino spring barley was yielding well, at just under 7.4t/ha. “That’s pretty good by our standards.” Quality was good, too, at 1.5-1.6% nitrogen and 67kg/hl.

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Across in Northern Ireland, winter barley harvest in County Down was complete, but winter wheat harvest was still about a week away, according to Charles Davidson at North Down Grain.

“There’s not a lot of winter barley grown around here, and we had an excellent week of weather so it’s all cleared up,” he said. “Yields were okay – but no better than average.”

In Yorkshire, Derek Lamplough was also taking an enforced break from harvest at Manor Farm, Scarborough, as nothing was yet fit to cut.

“We finished winter barley a week or more ago, and it’s dry and sunny – I just wish we had something ready to combine,” he said.

Venture winter barley was unexceptional, yielding around the five-year average, said Mr Lamplough. “We’ve cut about 56ha and it was easy going, coming off at 14-16% moisture.”

Harvest had also ground to a standstill at Manor Farm, Marcham, Oxfordshire, as William Cumber had not got anything ready to cut yet.

“We’ve done everything that’s fit, and it’s drizzling now,” he said. “We’ve cut three bits of Cordiale winter wheat and the rest was at 17.5% moisture all day yesterday, so it should be ready when the weather clears up.”

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