Harvest round-up: More delays ahead

Many crops are proving slow to ripen, frustrating some farmers’ attempts to get ahead with harvest.

In Yorkshire, Derek Lamplough was hoping to start cutting spring barley at Manor Farm, Scarborough, soon, and was optimistic about the crop.

“It looks very well. But the wheat doesn’t look as good – it’s suffered from a lot of fusarium.”

Although a neighbour was cutting wheat today (21 August), most of the wheat in the area wouldn’t be ready until next week, he said.

Further south, Edward Whitfield was busy combining at Gibbs Farm, Spalding, Lincolnshire, today, while storm clouds gathered on the horizon.

“We’ve cut about 243ha of 405ha of wheat, and like everyone else there’s good news and bad news,” he said.

Early drilled Grafton had done well, at 8.9-9.8t/ha and with a bushel weight of 72-74kg/hl.

But Duxford was abysmal at 6.4-6.8t/ha and with a bushel weight of just 50-55kg/hl.

Yields had also been depressing at Priors Farm, Newbury, Berkshire, where Richard Brown was cutting winter wheat.

“The rape looked really good, but there was just nothing in it,” he said. “It’s the worst crop we’ve ever grown.”

Wheat had done reasonably well on sandy soil, at up to 8.6t/ha, but on the heavier land only produced 5t/ha.

In Northern Ireland, Mark McFerran had finished combining at Battletown Farm, Newtonards, County Down, but said harvest was still very late in the area.

“We only had 30ha of Cassia winter barley, and it took 12 days to get it cut and baled in the broken weather we’ve had,” he said.

Yields were better than expected at 7.2t/ha at an average of 21% moisture.

Paul Phillips had also finished harvesting winter barley at Broniarth Farm, Newtown, Powys, and was now waiting for combine parts before cutting oats and winter wheat.

“We’re just about on top of things – we’ve just been battling through between the showers and breakdowns,” he said.

So far had cut Suzuka and Saffron winter barley at between 14% and 20% moisture, which had yielded 5t/ha and 6.2t/ha, respectively.

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