1 August 1997


HEAVY showers stopped combines in the middle of last week. Sun allowed a restart on Monday.

Grain traders suggest 5-25% of winter barleys and a little oilseed rape had been cut by then.

"A lot of barley is now ripe," says Jonathan Cockill, director of Argrain, Easingwold, Yorks. "Quite a bit is laid, and some is sprouting."

Yorks barley yields are typically 1.25t/ha (0.5t/acre) down on last year, and samples have been of low specific weight, with high screenings and nitrogens. "Hopefully there is better out there waiting to be cut."

The first few fields cut in Northumberland are similar and split grains are easy to find, says Kevin Mills of Allied Grain at Berwick.

Oilseed rape looks better. Mr Cockill estimates yields at 3.7t/ha (30cwt/acre). At Barnburgh Grange, near Doncaster, Peter Smiths Commanche is yielding about 3.6t/ha (29cwt/acre). Fighter barley, now 75% cut, made 8.6t/ha (3.5t/acre), similar to last year and better than anticipated.

At Skerningham Farm, Harrowgate Hill, near Darlington, Co Durham, Robert Darling took 9.8t/ha (4t/acre) of Manitou winter barley at 18% moisture, as last year.

Harvest started at Lodge Farm, near Driffield, Yorks, on Monday afternoon. Barometer grower Caley Sackur cut Regina winter barley, which he estimates yielded just under 8.64t/ha (3.5t/acre). "Its what I was hoping for. The second piece looks to be doing as well."

The sample was clean with no sign of germination or splitting, reports Mr Sackur.

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