Stop-start harvest in Hampshire

Tom Coleman has managed to cut just a few acres of winter wheat today (8 August) at Lower Norton Farm, Winchester, Hampshire, before being rained off again.

“We have done about 20t in the past hour and have literally just been rained off again,” he said. “However, we weren’t expecting to get anything cut today so at 17% moisture it’s better than nothing.”

Mr Coleman finished harvest spring barley last Thursday, and had since managed one day in wheat on Friday before grinding to a halt. “We’ve only cut about 20ha of wheat in total,” he said.

Yields were above average, with Diego yielding more than 10t/ha. And both Tipple and Propino spring barley had also done well, from 7.3t/ha to the high 8t/ha mark.

“In common with other growers around here, our nitrogen contents are low, at under 1.5%, so it could make for some difficult marketing.”

See also: Make your soils resilient to climate change.

Oilseed rape, however, was very disappointing, at 2.9-3.4t/ha, said Mr Coleman. “We had budgeted 3.6t/ha so it’s very disappointing. I think that rain over the flowering period was the problem – the earlier flowering varieties seem to have been hit worst.”

Avatar had performed the worst, with Fashion and PT211 in the middle, and old favourite Cabernet back at the top of the pile. “Every year we say we’re going to drop it and every year it just keeps performing.”

With harvest now about two-thirds complete, Mr Coleman still had plenty of combining to do. “Some people, who’ve got less acreage or larger combines, have finished, but we’ve still got a good chunk,” he said.

“One week of fine weather would see most people finishing up, but it’s not happening.”

However, with the crops having dried out before the high winds hit over the weekend, they had not come to much damage, added Mr Coleman.

“It’s standing well and the quality is holding up – the wheat is fit but not overly so, so I’m fairly relaxed for now.”


See more