Night-time harvesting in Worcs

Near round-the-clock combining has helped Worcs-based Richard Burt , who grew no winter barley, clear 650ha (1600 acres) of oilseed at deliverable moisture contents.

Starting on 17 July with the crop down to just 4.5% was quite “traumatic”, he said.

“So we decided to run right through to 1.30am and start again at 3.00am with my farm manager and I taking over at night.”

Moisture from dew was enough to pull the crop at Rotherdale Farm, Throckmorton back to 8-9%, which after blending left an overall satisfactory level, he explained.

“It served a good purpose and wasn’t too difficult because we were dealing with relatively low quantities of seed [compared with cereals].”

Precise yields of his three varieties, Expert, Winner and Castille were unavailable, but thought to be about 3.7t/ha (1.5t/acre).

“That’s reasonable considering our fairly extensive operation and heavy land. The Expert is a nice size, the Winner’s yield is OK but its seed is smaller.”

The first of his wheats, second crop Malacca, was being tackled today. “It was fit at least a week ago, but we were busy with the rape.

“We were expecting a good harvest up to July, but it’s just scorched off since. What impact that will have remains to be seen, but with 30 plus temperatures on the secondary tillers it won’t have been very clever.”

On the plus side avoiding having to dry would be a big plus. When fuel was only 17p/litre the cost was of relatively little concern, he pointed out.

“Now that red diesel is 37-38p/litre the implications for drying are fairly serious, and you begin to think that it might pay to have more combines again.” 

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