Harvest roundup: Working hard to get crops in

Farmers are combining as much as possible between the showers, with unsettled weather set to continue for the rest of the week.

In Northumberland, Carl Tuer was combining until 3.30 this morning (10 August) at Rock Farms, Alnwick, before being rained off again.

“The forecast was for three days more rain, so we wanted to get as much cut as possible.

“The biggest problem is getting the straw cleared off the fields – it’s been a nightmare as we haven’t had three dry days.”

Robert Tallis finished cutting oilseed rape at Frolesworth Lodge, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, yesterday, and was very pleased with yields.

“It seems to have been excellent; probably the best yields we’ve ever had.”

Although the combine’s yield meter wasn’t very precise, he reckoned the crop had averaged about 4.9t/ha (2t/acre).

In Devon, Troy Stuart was combining wheat today at Clyst St Mary, Exeter, and was similarly pleased with the results.

“We got on yesterday as soon as it dried out. We had an early start with Grafton, which is proving to be quite handy.”

A lot of the crop was reaching 10t/ha (4t/acre), and it would average not far off that, he said.

But yields had been disappointing for Mark McFerran, who had finished harvest at Battletown Farm, Newtonards, County Down.

“We had all winter barley, and started combining on Monday, 25 July. By Thursday, 28 July we had 34ha (85 acres) cut and baled.

“We were really thankful because the weather was good at that stage and it averaged about 15.5% moisture, so our drying charges will be minimal.”

Across the Channel, farmers in France had cut about 80% of their wheat, and yields were about 8% below last year, according to analyst ODA.

“The yields are mixed, but seem to be better than last year in northern France,” said managing director Alexis Prouye.

“National yields are down approximately 8%, which is less than expected, and production will be around 33.5m tonnes.

“Quality is also generally good, with specific weight at 79kg/hl and protein at 12% on average.”

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