Many farmers have finished harvest in Shropshire, and yields have been fantastic, according to independent agronomist Bryce Rham.
“I would say that before the weekend we were 85% of the way through harvest, and 75-80% of combines had finished. There’s not an awful lot left to do.”
Although showers had delayed harvest, farmers who had finished were desperate for more moisture to help oilseed rape germinate.
“Shropshire is like a dustbowl. A lot of farmers have never seen it so dry, even after the summer of 1976. Unless we get some decent rain it’s going to be a real problem.”
Yields, however, had been fantastic. “Most of the wheat is yielding above average, and pretty much everyone has above average rapeseed.”
Wheat yields ranged from 7.9t/ha to over 12.4t/ha (3.2 to >5t/acre), with heavy, fertile soils performing significantly better than light or tired land, he said.
Winter barley yields were extremely variable, ranging from 5.4-10.5t/ha (2.2-4.25t/acre), depending on soil type.
Winter oats had yielded 6.2-8.6t/ha (2.5-3.5t/acre) with spring barley about average at 6.2t/ha (2.5t/acre).
“Winter linseed was good, at 3-3.5t/ha (1.2-1.4t/acre), and was easy to cut,” added Mr Rham.
“Our biggest problem now is that the soil is extremely dry – we really do need some rain.”