Harvest roundup: Rain stops play again

Combines have ground to a halt again today (9 September), with further rain and gales forecast over the weekend.

James Muir only started combining Concerto spring barley at 23% moisture at Arns Farm, Clackmannan, yesterday, and had been rained off today.

“Yields are pretty poor – the first field will be lucky to have done 5t/ha (2t/acre),” he said. 

Further south, wheat yields had been surprisingly good at High Farm, Brandsby, Yorkshire, where Keith Snowball was waiting to combine spring barley and beans.

“Some pockets have done very well, while others have been a bit poor,” he said.

“But on the whole wheat’s yielded very well – it won’t be far off 10t/ha (4t/acre) on average.”

Wheat yields had been about 10% below average at Geddington Farms, Kettering, Northamptonshire, but were much better than David Reynolds initially expected.

“It hasn’t been a bad harvest at all. Wheat averaged over 9t/ha (3.6t/acre) so we’re not complaining,” he said.

But Fuego spring beans, sown after a failed oilseed rape crop, touched the opposite end of the scale.

“Thank goodness we didn’t have many – they scarcely reached 1.2t/ha (0.5t/acre).”

Crops in the South West were starting to suffer in the wet weather, although so far quality remained reasonable, said Ian Eastwood, managing director of West Country Grain.

“Many people have still got small bits of wheat, linseed or beans left to cut, which is annoying as the weather has really put the skids under things.

“The wheat is starting to look a bit weathered, but it should still thrash out alright – and the inherent quality was so high that, although it is spoiling a bit, it is still okay.”

Meanwhile, record rapeseed yields had boosted UK production to 2.5-2.8m tonnes – an increase of 500,000-800,000t on last year, said Jonathan Lane, trading manager at Gleadell Agriculture.

“This jump in UK production couldn’t have come at a better time for the UK farmer, as the bumper yields have not been mirrored on the continent and, as a result, we are seeing excellent demand from the continental crushers.”

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