It’s proving a stop-start season, with rape crops proving the “star of the show” for some farmers. Here’s a snapshot of the action featuring reader pictures
Farmer Andrew Sproat of Baldoon Mains, Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway, cutting Excalibur oilseed rape.
“In all the years of growing rape, which is at least 15 years, this is by far the most worrying,” says Malcolm Middleton, who works on the farm and took the photo last Saturday (August 20).
They started combining the 180 acres of rape on 9 August and, at the time this picture was taken, still had 30 acres to cut (normally it would have been wrapped up in less than a week).
“The only thing we think has saved the crop was spraying it, which helped to seal the pods. Luckily, the heavy wind flattened the plant resulting it protecting itself from the elements by forming an interwoven barrier stopping the plant from threshing.”
The flattened crop meant it had to be cut low to the soil. “Some fields have to be cut one way only – into the crop. We are lucky that the fields are clay and there are no stones,” adds Mr Middleton.
That said, despite earlier concerns, yields been pleasing – often hitting the 5t/ha-mark.
FWi gallery user ‘RMAY’ uploaded this picture showing spring barley cutting at Penstrassoe Barton, St Austell, Cornwall. The engine house of a tin mine from the 1700s provides a scenic backdrop.
Farmer’s son Edward Hames sent us this photo of harvest on the Derbyshire/Leicestershire border. “Our season has been pretty good,” says Edward, “with Oakley doing the best at well over 10t/ha (4t/acre). Some of the Grafton died off in the spring and didn’t do as well, but being on heavy soil helped. Our rape yields have been fantastic at 4.7t/ha (1.9t/acre).”
A New Holland combine turns on the headland an empty grain cart, pulled by a John Deere 6400, enters the field. “A nice operation featuring some decent classic machinery,” says FWi user ‘ForthrightJames’ who took the picture. The scene was snapped at Little Gransden in Cambridgeshire last Sunday (August 21).
A Claas Lexion 570+TT combining Alchemy seed wheat at Tuttington in Norfolk for Limagrain. Billy Larter is driving the combine and Kit Papworth took the picture. “Barleys and wheats have been incredibly variable this year – the only star of the show has been the rape where we’ve seen yields over the 5t/ha-mark,” says Kit.
• FWi’s Harvest Highlights is charting the progress of farmers throughout the UK. Find rolling information on yields and quality, plus see 1,200-plus photos.