Rain makes harvest a struggle in Kent

Dr Andrew Ferguson, Farm Estate Manager from Imperial College London’s Wye Campus, said sporadic showers had meant they had struggled to make progress since August 6.

“We’re only 40% of the way into the wheat, trying to cut the Hereward before the Hagbergs are shot.”

Moisture levels so far were at 15-17% with crops of decent quality, but he said grain moistures since August 11 were not dropping much below 20%. “We may have to kiss goodbye to quality in the last 10ha of Hereward.”

He said it may be their last year of growing Hereward due to Robigus yielding 2t/ha more than the 8.5t/ha of Hereward. “The paltry price premium for bread making wheat is simply not enough to make the crop worthwhile.”

Dr Ferguson said harvest would be on hold until at least August 21 due to forecast showers.

“I look back on the hot July days harvesting oilseed rape and oats, and wonder what has happened to those hapless forecasters who predicted the hottest August ever!”

But, he added: “On a positive note, with the rain we’ve had we’re now unlikely to break our legs running across the fields – the deep wide cracks in the heavy soils are slowly beginning the sealing process.”

• Crop: Winter wheat
• Variety: Hereward
• Area: N/A
• Yield: 8.5t/ha
• Quality: Moisture 15-17%

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