Harvest round-up: Still progressing well

Harvest continue to progress well, with occasional showers proving a nuisance rather than hugely disruptive.

In the week to 5 August, farmers managed to cut 640,000ha, taking overall harvest to 40% complete, acording to the latest HGCA / ADAS report.

Wheat harvest was 20% through – well ahead of the five-year average of 5%, with most of the crops cut so far being early maturing Group one varieties.

Overall, yields were above average, although they ranged from 3.7t/ha on land affected by winter floods, to 13t/ha for early-established first wheats.

Specific weights were good, at 72-82kg/hl, with Hagbergs averaging 308 seconds – but protein remained low at 9-12.5%, it added.

In Berwickshire, Les Anderson was delighted with yields at Hamish Morison Farming Ltd, Earlston, but was watching the forecast with some trepidation.

“They say the tail end of a tropical storm is heading our way, and could arrive over the weekend,” he said. “We’ve still got 57ha of oilseed rape left to cut, so we really want to get that off before the rain arrives.”

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Harvest was also going well at Lodge Farm, Tibthorpe, Yorkshire, although heavy showers last night mean Caley Sackur was unlikely to be combining for much of today (7 August).

“We’ve got the winter barley and oilseed rape cut, and have made a start in the wheat, which is seven to 10 days earlier than normal,” he said.

“But yields are a bit disappointing – the Venture winter barley averaged 7.4t/ha, as screenings were a bit of a problem. Only half will make the malting grade.”

In contrast, Charlie Edgley was delighted with yields at Kensham Farm, Cadmore End, Berkshire, where harvest was now about half way through.

“We’ve cut about 162ha of Cordiale continuous wheat, which yielded 8.6t/ha with a bushel weight in the low 80s kg/hl,” he said.

“There’s some rain forecast this weekend so we’ve been pushing on, and combining until after midnight every day,” he said. “If it does rain, it will be a rather welcome break.”

Rain last night had stopped play at Hugh Pulham Farms, Stowmarket, Suffolk, but Tony Pulham was thrilled with yields following a perfect growing season.

“So far we’ve had a very successful harvest,” he said. “Winter barley has been good; oilseed rape was exceptional, and wheats are bordering on obscene in places – I don’t think we’ll see anything like it again in my lifetime.”

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