Winter barley harvest was about 60% complete across the UK by 7 August, with yields close to the five-year average, according to the latest report from ADAS.
Over the past week, localised showers meant many farmers had not been able to combine at all, while others had managed to cut all day for five days in the week.
“Harvest progress is 10% behind the latest in recent years, and wet soil conditions are hampering progress,” said the report.
“Combines need to miss sections of fields that are too wet to harvest and are unloading on headlands to minimise soil damage in the main part of the field.
“The main harvest activity has focused on oilseed rape which dried quicker after showers, but modest areas of winter barley were also harvested and the first farmers in the south have started on early wheat varieties, spring barley and winter oats.”
Winter barley yields ranged from 4t/ha to 10t/ha, but were averaging 6.2-6.4t/ha, close to the five-year mean.
Specific weights were below normal, at 52-72kg/hl, with nitrogen contents on the high side in the south, and lower in the Midlands, with a range of 1.5-1.8%.
Screenings varied from 2-15%, and moisture at harvest averaged 15-19%, it added.
Oilseed rape harvest was 35% through, with yields ranging from 2.5t to 5.5t/ha, and averaging 3.4-3.6t/ha.
Moistures at harvest were 7-13%, with some small seeds and variable oil contents, said the report.
Although some farmers were into winter wheat, less than 1% of the UK had been cut yet. “The bulk of harvest is still not expected to take place for another seven to 14 days.”
Fusarium and mycotoxins remained a concern, with 97% of wheat disease survey samples taken at GS 73-75 showing ear disease.
“Pre-harvest rainfall is a crucial factor for mycotoxin risk so the continuing wet weather means that risks are still increasing.”