Harvest roundup: Barometers face a mixed bag

Weather has played havoc with harvest timetables and damaged crops. Gus Hartley Russell takes a tour of the situation across the UK with Farmers Weekly‘s barometer farmers.



Andrew Pendry
Isle of Sheppey, Kent


It’s been a frustrating start to harvest for Andrew Pendry of Burden Bros on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent.


So far 30ha of winter barley has been combined with a pleasing yield of 9t/ha and a thick crop of straw which has been baled. There was a little lodging around the headlands but moistures stayed around 13%.


Oilseed rape has been a different story.


“On Sunday (29 July) we moved 30 miles only to get once around the headland before it rained,” says Mr Pendry.


“Yield-wise it’s not as good as last year. The rape started coming in at 4.2t/ha, but the area left to cut won’t fare so well.


The OSR area is split 50:50 between W21 and Flash. All of the farm’s crops are swathed and once the combines have done their bit are baled for livestock bedding.


“Swathing makes it safe and the crops usually end up three to four days ahead of those that are desiccated in a normal year. But where the crop is heavy it can make a dense swath that can take a while to shed the moisture, where a standing crop will dry quicker in this situation,” says Mr Pendry.


While the harvest gang would usually consist of two combines with a third occasionally pressed into action, this year there is the luxury of an extra machine.


“With four combines going across the county, life can be interesting and organising grain trailers becomes a logistical nightmare.”
Andrew Pendry

“With four combines going across the county, life can be interesting and organising grain trailers becomes a logistical nightmare.”


Wheat harvest has kicked off with Gallant and results are pleasing. “So far the fields we have cut have yielded 10.6t/ha and 10.8t/ha and the proteins are 13.8% and 12.7% respectively. Bushelweights are 72-73kg/hl where we would normally like to see them around the 78kg/hl mark.”


DON mycotoxin levels are something that Mr Pendry is keeping an eye on this season.


“Our fungicide programme made good use of SDHI chemistry this year and this has definitely paid off. However, normally we only see mycotoxin levels of 350 parts per billion, but this season has seen it creep up to 450,” he comments.


Kit Papworth



Kit Papworth
Felmingham, Norfolk


Last Friday saw the winter barley harvest at Lodge Farm, Felmingham, Norfolk draw to a satisfactory conclusion.


“We have finished winter barley with everything under 15% moisture and we now wait for the rape and winter rye,” says Kit Papworth.


The barley crop was equally split between malting and seed. All the Flagon has been delivered to Crisp Malting at Great Ryburgh with an N content of 1.4.


“All the barley straw has been baled and cleared so we are very pleased,” says Mr Papworth.


“The seed crop was a two-row variety from KWS called Joy. It yielded fantastically well and was the star of the show, but until we get some weighbridge tickets back we won’t have a completely accurate picture.”


OSR harvest is a little way off. However, most crops have been desiccated over the past ten days using glyphosate and some Podstik (surfactant and polymer blend).


“Our rape varieties are late maturing DK Cabernet and Sesame. There is some lodging where they’ve followed vining peas and combining in these areas will be a challenge.


“We’re 10 days off starting the rape so we could do with some sunshine at the end of this coming week and then we will get into it.”
Kit Papworth

“We’re 10 days off starting the rape so we could do with some sunshine at the end of this coming week and then we will get into it.”


Following on from OSR the emphasis will move towards clearing the winter rye and wheat crops. The rye is a hybrid called Agronom, destined for human consumption.


“In the wheat fusarium is a big worry. We have treated everything with a very robust fungicide programme but we will definitely see some shrivelled grain and empty grain sites so we’ll be losing some yield,” adds Mr Papworth.


“We’ll wait to see just how much of an impact it’s had.”

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