Harvest roundup: Finishing up in South

More settled weather is enabling farmers to combine across most of the country today (31 August), with many finishing up in the South.

In Wiltshire, Peter Lamb had finished cutting spring barley at Knighton Manor Farm, Broad Chalke, and was pleased with quality despite the late season.

“We got rained off on 14 August last year – and rained off on the same date this year,” he said.

“Last year, everything germinated, but this year it hasn’t because it’s been so cold.”

Dan Matthews had just finished combining wheat at Eaubrink Farms, Tilney All Saints, Norfolk, leaving just the beans to do.

“We thought we would have been finished 10 days ago, but the past three weeks have been a bit of a battle with the showers,” he said.

Despite the wet weather, bushelweights and wheat quality had held up well, and yields were above the five-year average of 10t/ha (4t/acre).

But in Shropshire, harvest was making slow progress at Fieldfare Farms, Whitchurch, where Rob Bebbington has been drilling oilseed rape between the showers.

“We’ve still got about 30% of our wheat left, 100% of our spring barley, and 50% of our spring wheat to do. Yields have been about normal – nothing to write home about.”

English wheat yields were 3.4% down on last year on average, according to a survey by analyst ODA.

“The results have improved since the beginning of the harvest, with good quality and specific weight averaging over 78kg/hl,” said managing director Alexis Pouyé.
Spring barley harvest was around 96% complete in England, with yields down about 4.5% on last year.

On the international front, drought had damaged the American maize crop more than previously expected, buoying international corn markets.

A ProFarmer crop tour revealed that yields in the Western Corn Belt would be insufficient to compensate for those in Eastern areas, said a report by the HGCA.

“The US maize crop is seen at 317m tonnes, 11m tonnes below the USDA estimate.”

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