Harvest roundup: Back out in force

Many combines are back out in force today (30 August), and a more settled week ahead should see harvest completed across Southern England.

Crop in the South were starting suffer in the rain, and farmers still had a fair bit to cut, said Rob Sanderson, head of central store development at Openfield.

“It’s strange – some people have finished, but some have still got an awful lot to do.

“I was surprised at the amount of standing crops in Hampshire and Wiltshire over the weekend. They are now starting to look a bit coloured, but they’re still standing.”

Wheat yields were 9% below average, according to provisional trial results from the HGCA.

Latest figures, to 27 August, put the average yield in trials at 9.35t/ha (3.78t/acre), with the West of England performing better than the East.

Many farmers had finished harvest in Shropshire, and yields were fantastic, confirmed independent agronomist Bryce Rham.

“I would say that before the weekend we were 85% of the way through harvest, and 75-80% of combines had finished. There’s not an awful lot left to do.”

Although showers had delayed harvest, farmers who had finished were desperate for more moisture to help oilseed rape germinate.

Further east, Ben Atkinson was still combining wheat at Grange Farm, Rippingale, Lincolnshire, but expected to be finished on Thursday.

“Yields are quite variable, depending on soil type. The drought seems to have exaggerated any inherent problems in the fields, so good land has been better than expected and poor land is perhaps worse than expected.”

Andrew Gloag was also combining today, after a very wet weekend at Busby House Farm, Stokesley, North Yorkshire.

“We had over an inch of rain at the weekend, and started combining again yesterday at 20% moisture.

“We are only 30% through our wheat, so we’re keen to make the most of this week, given the way the calendar is moving on.”

In Scotland, harvest was experiencing something of a North / South divide, with high winds and rain battering the North, while combines had dodged the showers further south.

“It was very wet over the long weekend in Aberdeenshire, Morayshire and Inverness, which has done a bit of damage to crops,” said Bruce Ferguson, general manager at Aberdeen Grain.

“There’s been a bit of brackling in the spring barley. We haven’t seen any samples cut since the rain – I think combines might be back on tomorrow.”

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