5 September 1997


CONTINUED showery weather has seen only limited progress with the wheat harvest, leading to frustration among growers who are now taking every opportunity to tackle crops.

Peter Hogg, New Houses Farm, Causey Park, Northumberland, is halfway through his wheat which is as much as 30% down on last year – failing to top 4.9t/ha (2t/acre) in places.

Bushel weight is holding up reasonably well, although shrivelled grains will need dressing out. Moisture content of standing crops has risen from 16% to 24% over the past 10 days. "It is a year we could have well done without. There wont be much shiny new machinery bought this year."

Glen Sanderson, Eshott South Farm, Felton, Northumberland, was halfway through wheat on Monday. He is disappointed at the bushel weight of Riband, but says Hereward milling wheat is better, although Hagberg results are awaited with trepidation.

"The driest we have combined wheat is 17%. The wettest is unprintable, but we feel we have to get on." Signs of sprouting are appearing in crops laid flat for a long time.

With 142ha (350 acres) at Yokefleet and 162ha (400 acres) at Driffield still to harvest Yokefleet Farms manager John Fenton says the outlook is beginning to get serious. Yield is averaging 8.6t/ha (3.5t/acre), with sprouting now a big worry.

Bill Chrystal, Wingate Grange, Co Durham, had started 61ha (150 acres) of wheat on Monday, putting yield 10% down on last year.

Wet milling wheats are the worry for barometer farmer Caley Sackur at Tibthorpe, Yorks. Combines hit the crop for the first time in 10 days on Tuesday, moving into drying Avalon since lodged Rialto was too wet.

"Well go at 20-21% moisture – with 500 acres still to do we have to. But we want to avoid anything wetter, it means two passes through the drier." Rialto cut before the rains should make milling grade with 11.3-11.7% protein, 235-280 Hagberg and 77kg/hl. The effect of 10 days of rain on the remainder is awaited with some concern.

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