Wet grain causes problems

Some farmers have tried to get on combining today (12 September), but with poor drying weather grain moistures are still unbelievably high.

In Scotland, Robert Ramsay tried to combine some wheat today at West Mains of Kinblethmont, Arbroath, but at over 25% moisture decided to stop again.

Although he only had 15ha (37 acres) to finish off, some farmers in the area, which had been luckier than many other regions, still had three to four days left, he said.

David Hinchliffe had not been on combining for a fortnight at Bank House Farm, Goole, Yorkshire, and it was raining again today.

“The ground is absolutely sodden – it is dire really. It was a harvest that was so full of promise, and it’s turned into a salvage operation.”

Mr Hinchliffe had 100ha (250 acres) of wheat to cut, and most of it was still standing, although some was now sprouting.

Robin Baines has one field of beans and some neighbour’s wheat to finish at Tunstead, Hoveton, Norfolk.

“I know we’ve got off lightly compared with the rest of the country, but it doesn’t feel like it at the time,” he said.

Although most of the grain had to be dried, yields had been above average, which made up for the extra costs, he said.

But in Worcestershire Richard Burt still had 20% of his wheat to cut, and was suffering from breakages cutting at 27-29% moisture.

“It is horrendous – we have real problems with travelling in the fields in this area – in nearly any field there’s water lying on the surface.”

Harvest quality and progress in the south-west was diabolical, said Ian Eastwood of West Country Grain.

“There are people losing livelihoods in the far south-west. Some people have got a terrific amount to do.”

Although yields had been good, shed and sprouted grains were now starting to affect yields. Fusarium and rotten grains were also becoming a major problem, he said.


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