Harvest round-up: not dry enough?

Moisture meters will be one of farmers’ most valued tools this summer, with many itching to get on combining between the showers.

Between 8 and 14 August farmers cut almost 600,000ha of crops, with the total harvest now about 25% complete.

But widespread showers were frustrating many further efforts this week, with progress to 2008 and 2009, said the latest ADAS report.

So far, 85% of winter barley had been cut, alongside 80% of winter oilseed rape, and 5% each of winter wheat, spring barley and oats.

“Crops on light land are tending to perform better than normal, but crops on heavier soils are lower than normal,” said the report.

Wheat yields had proven surprisingly good for Edward Parsons at Templemans Farm, Redlynch, Wiltshire, despite initial quality concerns.

“We’ve cut 80ha of Solstice already, with bushel weights between 71kg/ha and 74kg/ha,” he said.

Having anticipated a 5t/ha yield and a poor quality crop, he was pleasantly surprised when yields came out at 7.5t/ha.

Oilseed rape harvest was progressing slowly further north, with yields about 15% lower than last year, said Owen Cligg, trading manager at United Oilseeds.

“The UK crop is likely to be well below expectations, at 2.4-2.5m tonnes.” Last year’s crop topped 2.8-2.9m tonnes, but the UK would still have a fair exportable surplus this season, he added.

“Cutting barley was a matter of dodging the storms, but we’ve finished now.”
Gavin Hunter

In Cambridgeshire, Gavin Hunter had made good progress with harvest at Tilbrook Grange, Huntingdon, and was now waiting for his wheat to ripen.

“Cutting barley was a matter of dodging the storms, but we’ve finished now,” he said.

Bushel weights for the Cassia barley stood at 68kg/hl, with yields at a pleasing 8.5t/ha.

Frank Thomson had also been making good inroads to harvest at Burnside of Tynet, Clochan, Moray, until rain stopped play last night (15 August).

Fortunately, he had managed to finish cutting winter barley, and was pleased with yields, despite unsatisfactory bushel weights.

He hoped to get going again this afternoon, ahead of more wet weather due tomorrow.

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