Mists hamper harvest at Whitley Bay

Andrew Crewdson has still got 60ha of spring beans to cut at Blagdon and Hartley Main Farms, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear, and is hoping for some dry weather.

“The beans were quite late drilled, so are only just ready; but we keep getting sea mists,” he said. “If the sun comes out we might get on over the weekend.”

Harvest had been a real mix, with winter crops performing very badly, but spring crops doing extremely well, said Mr Crewdson. 

“It was so wet over the winter that any crops we did manage to harvest were full of bare patches. But the spring crops were the complete opposite.”

Winter wheat averaged about 6.5t/ha, with winter barley at about 6.2t/ha. “It was a salvage operation, rather than a harvest – and the oilseed rape was a complete disaster,” he said.

However, most other farmers in the area had been similarly affected, with wheat coming into Sentry Farming’s grain store all averaging about 6.5t/ha.

Quality had been superb, with excellent bushel weights across the board, said Mr Crewdson. “Spring oats seem to have done well, and our Tybalt spring wheat did over 8t/ha in places.”

Overall, the Tybalt averaged over 6t/ha, with Belgravia spring barley averaging 5.5t/ha, and all making the malting grade. “It was drilled a month late, so it was a really nice surprise.”

Mr Crewdson expected to finish drilling winter wheat this weekend, leaving just 80ha of winter barley to go in.

“It’s been one of the worst harvests we’ve had in a long while – not only have we got very little in the barn, but the prices aren’t great either,” he said. “We’ll just look forward to a better one next year.”

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