Combines are likely to be out in force over the weekend, with mainly dry weather forecast and many crops almost ready to cut.
Harvest was progressing well at Bob Clabon’s Rookery Farm, North Walsham, Norfolk, despite being rained off yesterday afternoon (22 July).
So far he had cut 60ha (148 acres) of Flagon winter barley, which had yielded 7-7.5t/ha (2.8-3t/acre) – about average for the farm.
In Kent, Robert Maylam was disappointed with his oilseed rape yields at Bilting Grange, Ashford.
“We haven’t put it over a weighbridge yet, but I’m guessing it was just a shade over 2.5t/ha (1t/acre), which is pretty poor.”
Yields were slightly below the five-year average at Oliver Walston’s Thriplow Farm, Cambridge, where he had finished combining oilseed rape.
The 120ha (296 acres) of Excalibur and Castille averaged 3.2t/ha (1.3t/acre). “For the first time in a decade nothing has had to go through the drier,” he said.
But further west, oilseed rape was taking a long time to ripen, frustrating farmers in Gloucestershire, where many crops would be ready to combine at the same time.
Ian Branstone said he was likely to make a start on cutting winter oats at Bourton Hill Farm, Bourton-on-the-Water, on Monday (26 July).
“I went to all the trouble of putting the oilseed rape extensions and side bar on the combine, and now I’ve got to take them all off because the oats have come first – they’ve just died off.”
Chris Padfield was also itching to start combining at The Hawthorns, Staunton, Gloucestershire.
“I’ll be into winter linseed at the end of next week, when the oilseed rape and the Cordiale winter wheat will also be ready. It’s all going to come at once.”
Oilseed rape was not fit at Tim Morris’s Coneygar Farm, Cirencester, and his winter barley had proved disappointing with yields between 6.2t/ha and 7.4t/ha (2.5-3t/acre).
“It was the first time we’ve grown it for about 15 years, and it confirmed my previous belief that it wasn’t worth growing,” he said.