Harvest roundup: Frustrating times

Widespread showers have kept combines at a standstill again today (8 August), with progress extremely variable across the country.

In Scotland, Les Anderson had only managed to cut 50ha of the 195ha of winter barley at Hamish Morison Farming, Earlston, Berwickshire, after torrential rain stopped the combine on Saturday.

“It’s going to be a nightmare getting everything cut, the straw off and the next crop established,” he said.

“Oilseed rape will be at least two, if not three weeks off and the wheat looks to be going quite pink in the head. It doesn’t look pretty.”

Harvest was a week behind last year at Adrian Ivory’s Strathisla Farms, Meigle, Perthshire.

“We’ve cut nothing yet, whereas we started on 31 July last year,” he said.

“The conditions are poor and it’s pretty damp. Luckily one of our combines is on tracks which is a big life saver.”

Further south, Farmway’s central store at Piercebridge, North Yorkshire, had only taken in 1511t of barley and 212t of rapeseed so far.

“It’s early doors but barley yields seem alright,” said silo manager Andrew Darling.

“But the bushel weights on six row hybrids are drastically struggling, with Volume and Element averaging mid to high 50s and some even going into the lab below 50kg/hl.”

In Herefordshire, rain was causing Philip Gorringe some problems at Lower Blakemere Farm, with 24ha of hay wet and both barley and grass seed ready to cut.

“Luckily the barley and grass seed is just ready and is not over ripe,” he said.

If it dried up tomorrow, he hoped to get on cutting grass seed, followed by winter barley providing the ground conditions were reasonable.

Richard Duchesne also hoped to re-start combining later today or tomorrow at Hall Farm, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, after being rained off yesterday.

So far he had cut all the winter barley and was waiting to start on oilseed rape.

“Barley yielded well, with Flagon doing the best, cut at 13.5% moisture and making the malting grade,” he said.

In sharp contrast, Dougal and George Hosford had finished everything that was ripe at Travellers Rest Farm, Blandford, Dorset.
“We’ve cut 100ha of Maris Otter and 134ha of Castille and Exalibur so far, meaning we’re just over a third of the way through,” said Dougal.

They were now waiting for the spring barley, winter wheat and poppies to ripen before getting on again.

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