Rain causes problems for some while Winter barley yields for others

Winter barley continues to yield well across the country, with combines dodging the showers to get crops in the barn.

In Cornwall winter barley was almost finished, with John Moss very pleased with his Saffron. It averaged 6.9t/ha (2.8t/acre) with good straw yields to boot, he said. “The Retriever has been an absolute disaster with low bushelweights.”

Winter barley had also performed well in Nottinghamshire, where seed merchant and farmer Geoffrey Williams had nearly finished cutting. “Carat, Suzuka and Saffron have done better than for many years at 7.5t/ha (3t/acre) plus,” he said.

In Whittlesey, Cambs, David Fountain was taking a break from combining, having finished his oilseed rape and awaiting the winter wheat. “We’d like to think we’ll start the wheat next week (w/c 4 July),” he said.

Harvest was still not underway at Andrew Digwood’s Willow Paddocks Farm, Bridgnorth, Shrops, with rain keeping the combine under wraps. “We’ll start the rape as soon as the weather picks up,” he said.

Heavy rain had also brought harvest to a halt in Northern Ireland, with 50-60% of the winter barley now cut in County Down. “Most people have been getting pretty good yields – 7.4t/ha (3t/acre) has been a common figure, at 14-16% moisture,” said Graham Furey. “The Pearl is as good a yield as we’ve had for a few years.”

In Berkshire, Richard Brown was hoping to get his Astrid oilseed rape in before the rain arrived. “We’re cutting the worst of the rape at the moment, with a lot of pigeon damage,” he said. “It’s probably not doing much over 2.5t/ha (1t/acre) – hopefully we’ll head into something better this afternoon.”