Harvest roundup: Thursday

Combines have been back out again in some parts of the country today (26 August), and a better weather forecast could see huge strides made over the weekend.

Gerald Erwin was combining today at Nutts Corner, Crumlin, Co. Antrim, and was reasonably pleased with yields.

“Moistures have been quite high at 22-25%, but we’re quite happy cutting at that because we’re getting it in and it will all be treated with Propionic acid, instead of drying.

“Quality is fairly good – it doesn’t seem to have been affected by the rain.”

Farmers in the North West were struggling to get grass silage and wholecrop cereals off, but better weather had enabled some to get on today, said John Geldard at Plumgarths, Kendal, Cumbria.

“People are getting quite desperate with the wholecrop cereals – although an awful lot can get done in just a matter of days.”

Harvest was about 60-70% complete in Shropshire, with 40-50% of the wheat now cut, according to independent agronomist Bryce Rham.

“Yields have been all over the place – light land is not clever, at about 7.4t/ha (3t/acre), but fertile, heavy land is yielding over 10t/ha (4t/acre) as normal.”

In Herefordshire, crops were starting to brackle under the wet weather, but an improving weather forecast could allow combines to get back out soon.

“It absolutely chucked it down yesterday (25 August),” said Philip Gorringe at Lower Blakemere Farm, Blakemere.

“But the outlook is apparently not too bad, with two weeks of reasonable good weather ahead.”

Richard Brown had nearly finished harvest at Priors Farm, Peasemore, Berkshire, but still had 206ha (510 acres) of contract combining to do.

“We are getting there – we may finish over the weekend if the forecast is right.”

However, son George had not combined for over a week at Sheepdrove Farm. “They don’t want to get on at less than 16.5% moisture, so we could have a few all-nighters to catch up there.”

About 40-50% of peas and 90% of beans were still in the field, and quality waas starting to suffer, said Salvador Potter at the Processors and Growers Research Organisation.

“Winter beans have not yielded as well as the past two years, but have done reasonably well.

“But spring beans are very susceptible to drought, and it did hammer them.”

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