Rain holds up harvest

23 July 2001

Rain holds up harvest

By Andrew Swallow

RAIN since Tuesday (17 July) has been frustrating growers and the trade, both keen to see the harvest progress.

“We are sat like coiled springs waiting to go,” says Chris Toft, of Allied Grain, Melksham, Wiltshire.

The campaign has started across England and Wales, however, with results beginning to filter in from Cornwall to Cheshire.

Of the few malting barley samples seen nitrogens are mid-range, but it is early days, says Mr Toft. “No more than 2% of the crop is cut.”

Former FARMERS WEEKLY barometer grower Richard Burts 50ha (120 acres) of Regina is part of that.

“It yielded about 7.5t/ha, which I suppose is about average. The sample is reasonable, it is testing at 1.74% nitrogen.”

But with 200ha (500 acres) of swathed oilseed rape ready, the weeks poor weather has been an unwelcome blow. “What it does not need now is really heavy rain.”

On the Kent coast, Michael Attwood has cleared 150ha (400 acres) of Apex oilseed rape with yields averaging about 2.5t/ha (20cwt/acre).

“It is not particularly brilliant. Where it is good there is 4-4.5t/ha, but then you hit a flooded patch where the crop died and that drags the average down.”

Normal yield off the low-lying land near the Isle of Sheppey is 3.7t/ha (30cwt/acre).

Further round the coast Mike Goddard is similarly disappointed with a similar yield of direct cut Fortress grown on 40ha (100 acres) of Romney Marsh.

But his Apex, started early this week, was doing better at 3t/ha (24cwt/acre) and he has high hopes for a crop of Gemini.

“It looks pretty good and wont be ready for a week,” he said.

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