Philip Reck: Facing wettest August on record

Philip Reck manages 900ha (2224 acres) of light to medium loams within 20 miles of Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, Ireland. Cropping is cereals and oilseed rape, all min-till established

I fear I spoke too soon in my last article regarding the weather. I had hoped we wouldn’t have repeated last year’s performance. But like all variables in this business, it seems all too able to exceed your wildest expectations, and we’re facing into our wettest August on record.

I had hoped to have finished harvesting our crops and that the winter oilseed rape would have been safely in the ground by the end of the month, but that will be impossible now.

The past two weeks have seen torrential rain and extreme flooding like you expect to see only in winter. Some local farmers have even lost livestock when rivers spilled on to fields taking the animals with them.

The oilseed rape was harvested in perfect conditions with moistures hovering about 9% and yields averaging 4.5t/ha (1.8t/acre).

Winter oats were our next destination, and although we managed to make a start on them, little has been done for two weeks now. Continuous downpours are causing the crop to go down.

Winter wheat is showing signs of damage as well, but spring barley is worst affected. Grains have started sprouting even in the heads of standing crops, initially in Spotlight, but now in all varieties.

Even the cultivations have come to an abrupt halt. Paschal, who was with us last year, will be busy once the weather settles down, which I assume you will all agree, can never be soon enough.

With the harvest running later than usual we are losing our chaser bin driver Wally, who much to his dismay has to go back to school.

Having perfected our hand signals in the winter barley, we easily conveyed messages to each other through various gestures. The lump hammer was wielded only to help emphasise a particular statement.

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