Harvest round-up: Mixed results continue

Harvest continues to be a mixed affair, with many farmers finished while others struggle against the elements.

In Worcestershire, Andrew Goodman had finished combining wheat and oats at Walgrove Farm, Worcester, leaving just the spring beans to do.

Wheat and oats had both averaged 6.25t/ha, with bushel weights of 69kg/hl and 48kg/hl respectively.

“Bushel weights have been poor and it’s certainly been fun baling straw,” he said. “The ground is so soft.”

Further east, the delayed harvest had put great pressure on Colin Rayner and his team at Berkyn Manor Farm, Windsor, Berkshire, with combining yet to be completed.

“We’ve had some land in Essex for 12 years and the combine has travelled through floods and everything,” said Mr Rayner. “This year we took it into the field and it disappeared out of sight.”

However, yields had had been pleasing, with an above average harvest. “We were very surprised – we’re no better farmers than our neighbours and they had a poor harvest. I think we just missed some of that rain.”

In Cambridgeshire, William Mumford had had a mixed harvest at Agden Hill Farm, Great Staughton, with winter barley and rapeseed doing well but wheat proving disappointing.

“We started with 60ha of Cassata winter barley, which came in at 7.5t/ha,” he said.

“Rapeseed did reasonably well too. But the green wheat straw proved difficult to chop and combine output was half what it was last year.”

Harvest has been a dismal affair for John Jeffrey, with yields universally about 2.5t/ha below last year at Kersknowe Farm, Kelso, in the Scottish borders.

“It’s pretty dreadful,” he said. “Our high erucic rape only managed 2.7t/ha – 1.7t/ha below last year.

“And Belgravia spring barley yielded just 3.5t/ha. There was one field that brought the overall average down, but it never looked good after the cold, wet spring.”

On the other side of the Atlantic, the US Department of Agriculture had again cut its estimate of maize production in the States, down from 273.8m tonnes last month to 272.5m tonnes today (12 September).

Lower yields and crop abandonment were to blame for the reduced forecast, although markets had already priced in cuts, with analysts’ estimates between 262m tonnes and 275m tonnes, said the HGCA.

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