Wet crops still to get in the South

Farmers still have a fair bit to combine in the South, and crops are now looking weathered, according to Rob Sanderson, head of central store development at Openfield.

“It’s strange – some people have finished, but some have still got an awful lot to do.

“I was surprised at the amount of standing crops in Hampshire and Wiltshire over the weekend. They are now starting to look a bit coloured, but they’re still standing.”

Combines were rolling in the South yesterday (29 August), and most people should be finished this week, he said.

“They’ve done the spring barley and just have wheat and beans left.”

Spring barley quality was usable on average, but that hid a wide variation between regions.

“In the Eastern counties, nitrogen contents are high at 1.92%; in the South they are about normal at 1.7-1.8%, with Scotland at 1.4-1.6%.

“Logistically, that could present some interesting challenges and opportunities.”

Last year 5.4% of malting barley presented to consumers was rejected, and following this year’s wet summer, good quality storage would be essential to preserve germination levels, said Mr Sanderson.

“Germination may be fine when you cut it, but not so good when it’s delivered. How quickly farmers can condition the crop will be a key factor.”

Hardly any crops had come into Openfield’s central stores that hadn’t needed drying, he added.

“Once again, the wet August has made people realise that they haven’t got the infrastructure on farm to be able to cope with the weather.

“We are seeing strong demand in central storage, and will be expanding our capacity by a further 10% across the country by harvest 2012.”

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