Harvest roundup: Combines dodge the showers

Harvest is back underway between the showers, with yields continuing to fluctuate according to soil type and location.

In Thriplow, Cambridgeshire, Oliver Walston hoped to get combining again this afternoon (5 August), after being rained off at Thriplow Farms.

“We’ve done the worst 12% of the wheat on awfully thin land, and it’s appalling,” he said. The 100ha (250 acres) of Glasgow cut so far had yielded just 5.5-6t/ha (2.2-2.4t/acre).

“The rest of it is going to be better, but not brilliant. It won’t average more than 8t/ha (3.2t/acre).”

In Wiltshire, Tim Carson was also waiting for drier weather before starting to combine winter wheat at Alton Barnes, Devizes.

“We’ve finished our oilseed rape, and it yielded above average, so we’re pretty pleased with it.”

Further north, Andrew Craig had almost finished rapeseed harvest at Westwood Farm, Much Wenlock, Shropshire, having enjoyed record-breaking yields.

“The first field of Cubic we cut did 5.6t/ha (2.25t/acre) – we’ve never had a 5t/ha (2t/acre) crop before so that was very pleasing.”

Phil Dowson was also finishing oilseed rape at High House Farm, Richmond, Yorkshire, today and was similarly pleased with yields.

“It was coming off at 9% before the rain, but we’re having to cut it a bit wet today, at 13%.”

The Excalibur had averaged 5.2t/ha (2.1t/acre) into the local store, he said. “We’re very chuffed with that.”

In Co.Down, Northern Ireland, winter barley harvest was only about 40-50% through, with wet weather delaying combines over the past week.

“If it had been dry I’d have expected the winter barley to be almost finished,” said Philip Davidson, director of North Down Grain.

Yields had been affected by the dry spring, but were better than expected at about 7.4-8t/ha (3-3.25t/acre).

Yields had also exceeded expectations in France, where the wheat harvest was more than 70% complete, said analyst Agritel.

The French Ministry of Agriculture had increased its wheat forecast to 32.5m tonnes, up from 32m tonnes last month but still below last year’s output of 35.7m tonnes. 

Quality had held up well, and harvest progress should reach 80% by the end of this week, said the Agritel report.

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