Rain frustrates again in Cornwall

Harvest is, once again, proving frustrating for farmers in Cornwall, with frequent showers preventing much combining.

John Moss only started cutting winter barley at Howton Farm, Pillaton, Saltash, on Monday (26 July). “We have never started so late.

“This time last year we had finished the winter barley and most of the oilseed rape.”

Showers all week meant that, even with three combines, he had only managed to cut 121ha (300 acres) so far. “It is very frustrating.”

And now winter barley, oilseed rape, wheat and crimped wheat were all ready in the same week. “I have never known that happen before.”

Today (30 July) his combines were cutting winter barley, crimped wheat and oilseed rape, with the crops looking very patchy. “Fields are all ripening in different stages.”

The first field of early drilled Saffron winter barley was “absolutely devastating,” said Mr Moss.

Six weeks of frost followed by the drought meant yields were below 5t/ha (2t/acre), and straw yields were appalling, too.

However, Saffron in another field had produced 6.2-7.4t/ha (2.5-3t/acre), with Cassius closer to 7.4t/ha (3t/acre) and yielding much more straw.

Cabernet oilseed rape had performed very well, with the first 32ha (80 acres) yielding 4.4t/ha (1.8t/acre) at 9-10% moisture. “We’re delighted with that.”

Crop: Oilseed rape
Variety: Cabernet
Area: 32ha (80 acres)
Yield: 4.4t/ha (1.8t/acre)

Crop: Winter barley
Variety: Saffron
Yield: 5-7.4t/ha (2-3t/acre)

Variety: Cassius
Yield: 7.4t/ha (3t/acre)

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