Harvest roundup: Charging along now

The welcome spell of dry weather is helping farmers to make good progress with harvest across the country, although yields remain disappointing.

In Cambridgeshire, Peter Wombwell finished harvest at Rectory Farm, Ickleton, last night (4 September), and was about to head off contract combining for neighbours.

“It’s been a pretty boring and disappointing harvest. I don’t want to see another like this in my lifetime.”

However, he saved the best until last, with 2ha of Wizard beans. “We got 17t off the field – it was just astonishing.”

Further west, Stephen Moore expected to finish harvest at Manor Farm, Stapleford, Wiltshire, tomorrow night, and said he would be pleased to see the back of it.

“It’s been a nightmare – the wheats have been appalling, with low bushel weights and yields of 7.4t/ha and under,” he said.

Diego had produced a better sample than the Gallant, but yielded equally badly. “The protein in Gallant was very high, at 14%, but bushel weights are down at 70kg/hl.”

In Yorkshire, Phil Dowson was making slow progress with ploughing at High House Farm, Richmond, and still had two thirds of his wheat to cut.

“It’s been a bizarre season, but at least we’re finally enjoying a nice spell of wheat, and are getting the wheat in fairly dry,” he said.

“A few weeks ago we couldn’t do anything because it was so wet – the sun has started shining just in time.”

The sun was also shining at Merton Estates, St Boswells, Kelso, but Charlie Stewart still had an awful lot to cut.

“We are between a quarter and a third of the way through our wheat, and yields are abysmal,” he said.

“We’ve cut 200ha of Gallant so far and it’s not making milling quality, with a yield of 5-6.2t/ha, so we won’t be growing it again next year.”

In Northern Ireland, John Best started combining winter wheat at Acton House Farm, Poyntzpass, County Armagh, on Monday and was very disappointed with yields.

“We’re doing much better than we were 10 days ago – we have finished the winter oats and oilseed rape, and have 40ha of wheat done now,” he said.

“It will just weigh in at 72kg/hl, and is yielding 5.6t/ha – last year it was 9.8t/ha.”

However, ground conditions had improved dramatically, and oilseed rape drilling should begin over the weekend, he added.

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