Farmer Focus: Hours from harvest and fearing thunderstorms

Harvest crept up on us quite quickly. From looking like it was a week to 10 days away, a few days of hot temperatures and it was here.

The barley was up first and, with thunderstorms in the forecast, the decision was made to get it cut.

As a result, it has yielded an estimated 6.5t/ha, which is below where it should be but bang on what was expected and budgeted for.

See also: Grower kick-starts wheat harvest to earn £30/t premium

About the author

Jack Hopkins
Arable Farmer Focus writer
Jack Hopkins is farm manager on a 730ha AHDB Monitor Farm in north Herefordshire on predominantly silty clay loam soils. Cropping includes wheat, barley, oilseed rape, spring oats and peas, plus grassland that supports a flock of 1,000 ewes and 25 pedigree Hereford cattle.
Read more articles by Jack Hopkins

The grain quality looks to have held up (in terms of specific weight) but lack of plant numbers after poor establishment in the wet autumn has meant reduced quantity.

Hopefully, we matched the inputs to the estimated potential correctly, to maintain margin, with the bonus of an early entry for OSR.

High grain temperatures at harvest have meant the crop has required some significant cooling before it goes into storage.

As I write, we are waiting for the 14-day harvest interval on the OSR and hoping we do not experience too many more thunderstorms like we had last night.

We are literally days, if not hours, away from harvest and to lose any of it now would be heart-wrenching.

To give it an Olympics theme, it is like an athlete putting all the training and work in and then not achieving the medal they hoped for.

The launch meeting of our tenure of the AHDB Hereford Monitor Farm programme finally took place on 19 July, a year later than planned.

The evening went well with plenty of discussion and lots of relevant topics in conversation, but the highlight was just to see people in person.

This has set us up well for the next three years. We hope to provide thought-provoking meetings and research that will benefit both ourselves and those who attend.

Have a good harvest, everyone, and stay safe. Hopefully by the time you read this the British and Irish Lions will be on the cusp of a Test Series win against the Springboks.

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