Harvest roundup: Monday

Fine weather enabled many farmers to make inroads into wheat and spring barley this weekend, but yields are proving extremely variable.

In Essex, harvest was between half and three-quarters complete, according to agronomist Charles Carter.

Oilseed rape and wheat yields were incredibly varied, ranging from record yields on good land to total disasters on the lighter land.

Yields had also been below average at John Jefferies’ farm in Cambridgeshire, due to the dry spring. “The tillers died off in May – we’ve lost up to 2t/ha (0.8t/acre) at a guess.”

He hoped to finish combining tomorrow, but said harvest progress ranged from 20%-80% in the local area.

In Devon, many crops were still not ripe, making harvest a tricky affair, said Troy Stuart from Clyst St Mary.

“We’ve got winter oilseed rape that is still not fit – and it was planted on 12 September. We’ve done an awful lot of messing about and crop changes.”

Further north, in Shropshire, Bruce Udale was halfway through his spring barley, which was producing a good sample and averaging about 6.8t/ha (2.75t/acre).

“We’re trying to finish the spring barley before we start the wheat – it’s all just about standing up.”

Spring barley harvest was also underway in Scotland, where Frank Thomson was cutting Optic near Buckie, Morayshire.

However, he still had about half of his oilseed rape to cut, with around 30% left to do in the area.

Malting barley quality and yields had been excellent across most of the country, said Gleadell Agriculture’s Stuart Shand.

“Apart from the South West, the spring barleys are of good colour, low protein and are yielding very well.”

Winter barley harvest was all but complete, with very good quality and above average yields, he added.

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