Harvest roundup: Here comes the rain again

Heavy showers have passed across most of the UK today (15 August), bringing harvest to yet another halt.

Strong wind and rain headed north throughout the day, prompting the Met Office to issue nine severe weather warnings from South West England to Wales and much of Scotland.

In the Scottish borders, Rod Smith expected to write off 20ha of wheat which had been welly-high in water at Beal Farm, Berwick upon Tweed.

He had cut some spring barley at up to 21% moisture yesterday, and was concerned about the state of remaining standing crops.

Further south, Richard Beachell had finished combining oilseed rape and winter barley at Field House Farm, Bainton, Humberside, and was now waiting for other crops to ripen.

“The barley was okay – it produced a good average, at just over 8t/ha.”

With a bushel weight of 63kg/hl, the Cassata had all managed to go for malting, although premiums were terrible, he said.

In Lincolnshire, Mark Ireland had pushed on with harvest this morning at Grange Farm, Sleaford, to get as much cut as possible before the rain. 

“The spring barley is doing very poorly – it hasn’t looked well since the rain arrived in April,” he said.

“We had 80% of our annual rainfall between April and July, which has turned what potentially could have been a superb harvest into a very moderate one.”

It was a similar story in Norfolk, where Ed Lankfer’s combine had sunk when cutting oilseed rape, and winter barley had produced extremely variable results.

“I loaded the first load of barley, grown on light land, and you could tell that bushel weights would be light,” he said. “But the second load looked much better.”

Test results confirmed his fears, with the first load testing at 58.7kg/hl and the second one making the grade, with a yield of about 7.5t/ha.

Torrential rain and high winds kept Charlie Watson-Smyth from cutting anything at Tregirls Farm, Padstow, Cornwall, today.

So far he had cut 80ha of Cassia winter barley, with rather poor results.

“The winter barley has been abysmal,” he said. “We got about 8.1t/ha but the bushel weight was nearly as low as 60kg/hl due to lack of sun.”

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