Harvest roundup: Frustration continues

Harvest continues to suffer from patchy rain, and wheat quality is starting to drop – although one grower is celebrating a potential new UK record yield.

David Hoyles cut the 8.25ha (20.39 acre) field of Invicta at Monmouth House Farm, Lutton, Lincolnshire, on 10 August, at a massive at 14.3t/ha (5.79t/acre).

“I think it was quite a lot of luck and a little bit of judgement,” he said.

“I top dressed it with 30kg/ha of nitrogen at the end of February, which I think helped with the drought we had – a lot of the later applications didn’t get washed in for quite a while.”

Farmers had cut about half of their wheat in the area, said John Burnett, managing director of Woldgrain.

“Last week was pretty slow, and by the weekend we had only taken in 20,000t of our 55,000t capacity.”

Quality was holding up well, despite the wet weather. “Bushelweights and Hagbergs still seem to be fine.”

But in Suffolk wheat was starting to sprout, said Paul Agazarian at co-op AtlasFram.

“We had some Battalion in this morning (16 August) which had some sprouted grains, but Oakley in particular seems to be faring badly. 

“We may have seen the best wheats of harvest already.”

Further north, farmers had been rained off again today, said Gary Bright, managing director of GrainCo.

“People didn’t get a lot done last week, so they kept on cutting until they were rained off at 2am this morning.

“It’s a real charge to try and get the oilseed rape and barley finished.”

Early wheat yield indications were better than expected, both the North East and the South West, where harvest was about half way through.

Quality so far was excellent, with the bulk of the milling wheat safely in the bin, said Ian Eastwood at West Country Grain.

“But it’s difficult to know what this drizzly rain is going to do to quality now.”

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