Harvest roundup: Plugging away

Heavy thunderstorms have brought harvest to a standstill across much of the UK, although some combines are progressing well between the showers.

In Yorkshire, Keith Snowball had only cut 80ha of winter barley and a few oats for neighbouring farmers at Brandsby.

“It’s absolutely pouring at the moment,” he said. “They had 70mm of rain on the Yorkshire Wolds over the weekend, whereas we only had 13mm at home.”

Winter barley yields had varied from 3.2t/ha to 6.7t/ha, while Dalguise winter oats had done reasonably well, at 6.7t/ha. “But the Mascani are still 10 days away.”

Further north, Andrew Peddie was dreading combining the rest of his winter barley at Cornceres Farm, Anstruther, Fife.

“We snatched 4ha of winter barley in the few dry days that we’ve had, and it hasn’t been disastrous,” he said.

“However, the forecast is for more rain tonight (6 August), and we will be going onto the heavier land soon. I’m dreading it, because we really struggled when spraying it off.”

In sharp contrast, Giles Porter was flying through harvest at Penn Croft Farms, Farnham, Surrey.

“We’ve fortunately missed most of the showers,” he said. “So far we’ve cut 120ha of winter barley for ourselves and a neighbour, and 162ha of oilseed rape.”

Barley yields were unexciting, at just over 7.4t/ha. “But the Cassata has made the malting grade, which is pleasing.”

In Somerset, Jeremy Walker had also made good use of the dry weather in July, having cut all his oilseed rape and winter barley at Haddon Farm, Bridgwater.

“We had another inch of rain last night, and anyone who missed that dry window hasn’t had a chance since then.”

The PR46W21 rape came off at 3.7-4.3t/ha, with Cassia winter barley at 8t/ha.

Surprisingly, despite some torrential rain in Pembrokeshire, the combine was still rolling at Meurig Raymond’s Trenewydd Fawr, Haverfordwest.

“There is flooding 20 miles East of us, but luckily we’ve been alright,” he said. “The forecast isn’t good, and although it is still very wet we’re combining today.

“We’ll be drying it for the next three days, but we’ve got about 40ha that really needs to come off now.”


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