Harvest roundup: Still dodging the showers

Combines continue to snatch crops between the showers, with some areas faring better than others.

In Hampshire, Tom Coleman had managed to combine one lap of his first wheat field at Lower Norton Farm, Winchester, before being rained off again this afternoon (17 August).

“We’ve just finished the spring barley and have managed two loads of wheat before it rained,” he said. “It’s very frustrating.”

Spring barley had yielded amazingly well, given the dry season, but malting quality was variable. “We’ve got some problems with split and skinned grains.”

In Lincolnshire, pea quality was excellent, and yields were surprisingly good, according to Peter Busfield, director at seed merchant Dunns.

“Neon has done very well, averaging over 5t/ha (2t/acre), with Kabuki at 3-5t/ha (1.25-2t/acre),” he said.

“There have been some very good green colours this year; I haven’t seen much bleaching after the rain.”

Rain continued to cause problems in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, where winter barley harvest was about 90% complete said Robert Craig at Carse Hall, Ballykelly.

He was waiting to turn wet barley straw, and said yields had been very erratic, possibly due to scorch from acid rain after Iceland’s volcanic eruption earlier in the year.

Bizarrely, given the problems many others were having with wet weather, Philip Gorringe was finding it too dry at Lower Blakemere Farm, Blakemere, Herefordshire.

“Our rainfall is running at about half what it should be,” he said. “The farm is as dry as I’ve ever known it.

“Autumn cultivations are going to be hard going, because we won’t be able to get into the ground.”

Across the Channel, European harvest was back underway after wet weather disruptions, with declining wheat quality supporting milling premiums.

“Strategie Grains currently see 82% of German wheat crop of bread quality, down from its previous estimate of 93%,” said a report by HGCA.

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