Wet weather frustrates as harvest is stalled

Wet weather is continuing to frustrate arable farmers across the country, with very little wheat being cut and crops beginning to show signs of stress.


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In the South and East some wheat crops were ripe and ready to combine, with farmers dodging the showers to cut at moisture contents of up to 27%.

With so little being harvested, wheat consumers were getting desperate for supplies, and were paying upwards of £20/t premium for quick movement.

Large premiums

However, with the cost of drying grain so high, large premiums were needed to encourage farmers to combine at such a wet time, said John Whitelam, marketing director at Fengrain.

Producers had only cut 1-2% of their wheat in Cambs and Essex, but early sample and yield results were promising, although few crops were yet fully ripe, he said. “We are still cautiously optimistic both for yield and quality.”

Winter barley harvest was now finished in the region, with about 90% of the rape in the barn.

However, further north and west rape and barley were still waiting to be cut, with about 25-30% of winter barley to do in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, and about 50% of the oilseed rape now complete.

In Scotland, rape was ready to cut at Sandy Alison’s Turnhouse Farm, Edinburgh, but heavy rain was preventing any combining today (11 August).

“The rape has been ready to cut since Friday – since then we’ve had two inches of rain,” he said.

So far he had recorded 130 mm of rain since the beginning of August – more than double the month’s average of 50-60mm.



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