Harvest highlights: Combining well ahead of schedule

Last night’s rain was welcomed by farmers across the country as it meant a respite from the excessively hot weather of the past few weeks.

But the dry weather has meant combining is now well ahead of schedule although quality in some areas – notably lighter land – has suffered.

Higher screenings, and a drop in specific weights in oats, has been an issue for Isle of Wight grower Mark Orlick. Yields have also suffered, down on average at 7t/ha (2.8t/acre), although oilseed rape did an “average” 3t/ha (1.2t/acre).

Spring barley has been coming off at 6.25t/ha (2.5t/acre) at a moisture content of 15% in Suffolk for Robert Claydon. He only has two days of combining wheat left. So far it was yielding between 8-10t/ha (3.2-4t/acre) at a moisture level of 11-15%. Mr Claydon’s cereals were “looking as expected”. 

Winter barley harvest is under way in Scotland for Frank Thomson, Moray, combining 9t/ha (3.6t/acre) of Boost, Colossus and Bronx with moisture contents of 15%. The results have help secure the crop’s place in the rotation after a 20-year break.

Overall, winter barley has been going pretty well this year, although crops in the Midlands and Norfolk have not done quite as well and in the south nitrogen levels are a bit high.

One success so far this year has been Flagon with growers reordering seed confirming its position in the malting barley market, according to Gleadall agriculture’s Stuart Shand.

With the yields averaging 10t/ha (4t/acre) it is performing as well as Pearl, he said. Flagon is also producing nitrogen levels around 0.3-0.4% lower than Pearl, giving growers a better chance of achieving the malting premium.

The first spring barley crops are looking very thin, Mr Sand added, and malters will have to lower their acceptance levels to meet targets.

Despite the rain last night, which affected a number of growers across the UK, harvest had not stopped for James Lunn in Lincolnshire. Wheat cut so far has delivered an average yield of 9.9t/ha (4t/acre) and a moisture content of 17-18%.