Harvest round-up: Rain stops play

Rain has brought harvest to a halt across much of the country today (1 August), with some mixed reports on yields and quality.

In Northumberland, Carl Tuer had finished combining winter barley at Rock Farms, Alnwick, Northumberland, and was very pleased with yields.

“We had Glacier, which I’m guessing has yielded 8.6t/ha, and Cassia which has better bushel weights and has done about 9.1t/ha,” he said.

“We haven’t got any oilseed rape ready yet, and there’s an iffy forecast for the weekend, so we’ll probably get into that on Monday.”

Further south, harvest had been rained off at Geddington Farms, Kettering, Northamptonshire, but David Reynolds was still pleased with progress so far.

“We’ve got all the oilseed rape done, and it’s been pretty reasonable,” he said. “We had lots of different varieties but the one that seems to have done the best is Trinity, although we haven’t had any sample results back yet.”

Overall, the rape had yielded about 3.7t/ha. “We’d prefer a bit more, but we seem to have hit a ceiling on oilseed rape yields,” he added.

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

Across in Northern Ireland, Graham Furey had finished combining winter barley and oilseed rape at Castleview, Killyleagh, Co Down – the earliest he had ever done so.

“It’s the first time we’ve ever cleared barley and rape by the end of July,” he said. “We had excellent hot weather last week, which brought everything on really quickly.”

Wheat was also nearly ripe, he added. “We’ll be into the Einstein next week. We had high hopes for it for a long while, but there’s a bit of disease come into it right at the end.”

In Berkshire, harvest had been a very disappointing affair at Priors Farm, Newbury, with yields and quality looking generally poor.

“We’ve finished the Tipple spring barley and it was really pretty bad,” said Richard Brown. “I think it’s reverting to some of its parent stock, and it just died off – I won’t be growing it again.”

The Tipple yielded just over 5t/ha – but Propino looked a lot better, he added. “It’s not quite fit, but it has a much bolder sample.”

According to Weald Granary, harvest in Kent was about a third of the way through, with 12% of farmers having finished harvest by the end of July.

“We’ve taken in about 27,000t, so are a third done,” said director John Smith. “At this point last year we had just 400t in.”

The store had 25 trucks running, with intake close to capacity at almost 4000t a day, but with most grain coming in dry everything was running smoothly, he added.

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