Harvest roundup: Good yields in North and West

Farmers continue to try and dodge the showers, but yields are generally better than expected, with the North and West faring particularly well.

In Scotland, Dave Runciman was extremely pleased with yields at Edington Mains, Chirnside, Berwick-upon-Tweed, but was frustrated by ongoing wet weather.

“The wheat hasn’t had ideal weather to finish if off over the past six weeks, and it’s not taking much rain to make the ground wet now,” he said. “We don’t want any more.”

However, harvest had gone surprisingly well at The Hawthorns, Staunton, Gloucester, with wheat yields 2.5t/ha (1t/acre) above Chris Padfield’s five-year average.

“Like a lot of farms in the area, we’re surprised at how good the yields have been. I’d like to claim it was me who found some secret formula, but everyone is the same.”

The Diego and Oakley had averaged 10.4t/ha (4.2t/acre), with Flash and D06 oilseed rape coming off at 4.2t/ha (1.7t/acre).

Harvest was also going well at North Farm, Wimborne, Dorset, although 52mm of rain yesterday (18 August) had brought combines to a halt.

“We prioritised our milling wheat over the spring barley – at least it dries off more quickly than the wheat,” said Peter Snell.

“But we might end up with a pre-wet weather batch and a post-rain batch – it’s had a fair hammering, which won’t have done it a lot of good.”

The combine was also unlikely to be out today at Priors Farm, Newbury, Berkshire, after an inch of rain yesterday.

“It’s a beautiful day today, but it’s going to take a lot of drying out,” said George Brown.

So far he had cut half of the Alchemy winter wheat, which had yielded between 8.6t/ha and 9.4t/ha (3.5-3.8t/acre). “We’ve had to dry every tonne.”

Farmers in the South East had a new market for their grain, following the re-opening of an export facility at Rye, Sussex.

Virtually mothballed for many years, the port had been overhauled and expanded, and recently loaded 2000t of Cordiale milling wheat for Gleadell Agriculture, destined for Scottish processors.

Meanwhile, in Ukraine, maize production was likely to reach a record 17-18m tonnes, according to the Ukrainian ministry of agriculture.

But forecast wet weather this autumn could threaten the quality of the crop, as there was insufficient capacity to dry it all, said a report by analyst Agritel.

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