Harvest roundup: Storms damage remaining crops

Wet Harvest, Warren Barn Farm, Thale, Oxfordshire

Wind and rain continues to hamper harvest across the UK, with many crops starting to suffer in the stormy weather.

In Northern Ireland farmers had cut very little over the past week, said Graham Furey at Castleview, Killyleagh, County Down.

“We tested a crop yesterday and it was 25% moisture – and it’s showery again today (7 September).”

Spring barley, especially Westminster, was starting to brackle in the area, and some of the wheat was starting to sprout, he said.

“Anybody who cut last week will be pleased, because the stormy weather is definitely making a bit of a mess.”

In Yorkshire, Chris Smith had almost finished combining near Easingworld, with just 6ha (15 acres) of spring rape left to cut.

Although there was still quite a lot of wheat to cut in the area, he finished combining for his customers on Saturday evening.

“Judging by the smiles, it’s done pretty well. It’s the best yield we’ve ever had, averaging 10t/ha (4t/acre) easily.”

Organic wheat yields had been exceptional at Carl Grey’s Grange Farm, Bredon, Gloucestershire, with all crops coming in at or above budget.

Invicta, grown for seed, topped the table, yielding 7.3t/ha. (2.96t/acre) – the highest organic yield the farm had seen for at least 10 years.

And continuous wheat had done well Kensham Farm, Cadmore End, Berkshire.

“We grow continuous milling wheat, and averaged 7.4t/ha (3t/acre) across 730ha (1800 acres), which isn’t bad,” said Charlie Edgley.

“That is better than the past two years, but not a patch on 2008, when we did 10t/ha (4t/acre) across the board.”

In Cornwall, winter wheat harvest was virtually complete, but spring wheat was starting to suffer in the wet weather.

Matthew Collins had just 10ha (25 acres) of spring wheat left to cut near Chy-Vellan Farm, Marazion, which was hardly fit.

“But there are some spring wheats which are looking a bit black now,” he said.


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