Miserable near Morpeth

Harvest is proving extremely trying for Glen Sanderson, Eshott South Farm, Felton, Northumberland, with torrential rain and flooding over the weekend.

“It’s miserable – we’re all getting really grumpy and fed up,” he said.

“It’s definitely the worst harvest we’ve ever had, as it’s a triple whammy: Not only is it wet, but we’ve got really poor yields and penalties for low bushel weights.”

Mr Sanderson had cut 40ha of winter barley, which struggled to yield 5t/ha. “That’s the worst yield since the 1970s.”

He had also combined 40ha of oilseed rape, which did 2.7t/ha, compared to a 10-year average of more than 3.7t/ha.

“We’ve got 49ha of wheat to cut, and it’s still standing. But we’ve spent a king’s ransom on looking after it, with five fungicide applications.”

So far he had cut one small field of second wheat at 23% moisture, just to try and clear some land for oilseed rape.

“It was 65kg/hl so it looks like wheat yields will be bad, too. We’ve direct drilled a little oilseed rape, because the land is too waterlogged to plough and work properly.

“It’s now a fighting battle between the seed and slugs in their millions.”

Although the forecast was for better weather across the South of England, it was likely to remain unsettled in the North, said Mr Sanderson.

“The days are getting shorter, and the drying effect is getting weaker. Financially it’s going to be an exceptionally difficult harvest – it’s all a bit worrying.”

Crop: Oilseed rape
Varieties: Excalibur and Catana
Area: 40ha
Yield: 2.7t/ha

Crop: Winter barley
Varieties: Cassia and Saffron
Area: 40ha
Yield: <5t/ha

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