Harvest round-up: Progressing surprisingly fast

Farmers have managed to harvest a surprising amount over the past week, getting on between the showers whenever it has been possible.

According to the latest HGCA / ADAS harvest report, harvest was now two-thirds of the way through, after farmers managed to cut 18% of the total cereals area in the week to 19 August.

In the South, 50-60% of wheat crops requiring drying, while up to 100% of crops needed drying in the North.

Overall, 55% of the wheat had now been cut, and yields continued to be well above average at 8.2-8.5t/ha, it said.

Bucking the trend, Chris Vowles had not even started harvest at Freemans Farm, Barrow Gurney, Bristol, after having to replant winter cereals with spring crops instead.

“We’ve only got 4ha of wheat, and the rest is spring barley that we planted in April,” he said. “It’s hardly ripe yet – we probably won’t be into that until the end of next week.”

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

In Essex, Agrii trials results showed that the new DSV hybrid oilseed rape variety Combiner had achieved a gross output over 5% more than its closest rival.

With the highest yield in the trials and an oil content of 48.4%, Combiner had a gross output of 114.4% compared to the 100% mean. Vision came in at 108.9% with DK Cabernet in third spot at 106.4%.

Belepi soft wheat had also produced some good yields this year, with drilling dates ranging from October through to the end of March.

“We are now getting confirmed yield results from growers, and these show good to excellent yields from crops drilled at both ends of the sowing calendar,” said Tom Nickerson at Ebbage Seeds.

However, in Scotland, Hamish Forbes had barely started cutting spring barley at Lockdhu Farm, Nairn, Morayshire, and was extremely concerned that quality was starting to fall.

“The weather has been really bad – we managed to cut a neighbour’s spring barley on Saturday (16 August), which was the first time we’d got on since the tail end of Hurricane Bertha, and now it’s raining again,” he said.

“Quality is really deteriorating – the crops are very flat and although the barley isn’t sprouting yet it is very discoloured and trying to split.”

See more