Harvest round-up: Shorter days slow progress

Combines are rolling on apace gathering the last of this year’s harvest across the country, although shorter days and damp mornings will be slowing progress.

In Cambridgeshire, Gary Mills was still combining at Haynes Farm, Peterborough, although he had anticipated an early finish.

“It’s been stop-start since the weather broke a couple of weeks ago,” he said. “We started cutting wheat in July and everything was being cut so quickly we didn’t think we’d still be cutting now, but then the weather went downhill.”

The 36ha of Skyfall and JB Diego winter wheat yielded well for the farm, although blackgrass had a significant impact across some areas.

Across in Worcestershire, Roger Brian was also busy on the combine at Park Farm, Hanbury, with the last of the winter wheat left to do.

First wheat Claire yielded a pleasing 9.9t/ha average, while second wheat Gallant also met expectations at 8.6t/ha.

Advance oilseed rape yielded about average for the farm, at 3.7t/ha. “We’ve put in Osprey for next year as it’s a variety that did very well on the farm a couple of years ago,” he said.

In Hampshire, Daniel Crawford had had an exceptional year at Neatham Farms, Alton, with just about everything hitting the premium grade.

The 222ha of winter wheat, split between JB Diego, Gallant and Claire, yielded well, although that slightly compromised protein contents.

“We’ve had an average of 9.9t/ha, with everything cut around 13% moisture,” Mr Crawford said. “It was fantastic not to have to put it through the dryer.”

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

However, feed bean quality had suffered this year, according to a report by PGRO and BEPA.

Although yields were generally good at about 5t/ha, staining, bruchid damage, small seed size and splitting were common issues in the winter bean crop.

“Spring bean samples have so far been far more promising, but there remain very significant areas be harvested,” it said.

In Scotland, Sandy Allison only had spring beans left to harvest at Turnhouse Farm, Edinburgh, having finished the last 38ha of winter wheat last night (4 September).

Yields had been good, with Leeds exceeding 12.4t/ha as a first wheat and Cordiale doing 9.3t/ha as a second wheat. “The protein and Hagbergs are good, so I’m getting a £30/t premium for the Cordiale,” he said.

Concerto spring barley had also yielded well, at over 7.4t/ha, although Mr Allison was concerned about how late modern spring malting varieties were getting.

“It wasn’t ready until Monday (1 September) which doesn’t help the harvest profile – it means everything comes at once,” he said. “We even had last weekend off as nothing was ready.”

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