Harvest 2017 is underway around 10 days earlier than usual, with some growers having made a start on combining crops of winter barley on lighter soil types.
Growers in Kent, Suffolk, Dorset and Lincolnshire have begun harvesting early crops of winter barley on some light, sandy soils – the speed at which crops have matured is said to be due to dry conditions throughout much of the growing season.
See also: Early start to harvest anticipated
Many growers have also made progress with OSR desiccation, meaning OSR harvest is set to begin around mid-July.
South East agronomist, Christine Lilly says: “There has been some barley harvested in Lincolnshire this week, mostly on light sandy soils. Farmers have also been busy applying glyphosate to oilseed rape crops, so oilseed rape harvest will probably start towards the end of next week [w/c July 10].”
Cambridgeshire farm manager, Russell McKenzie expects to harvest his first crop of winter barley in about one week [July 10].
A narrow window for PGR application, along with heavy rainfall in parts of the country has meant some crops have succumbed to lodging.
Mr McKenzie says: “We could not hit the timing for later PGR on the spring barley as it was too windy for spraying. By the time we could get on, the barley was past the correct growth stage.”
Similarly, Mrs Lilly has seen lodging of some wheat and spring barley crops on heavy, fertile soil types, particularly where growers used high seed rates.
“Spring barley, in particular, got away very fast in the spring, which has resulted in long, weak stems. In some cases, the recent wet and windy weather was enough to flatten some crops,” she says.
Hardly any barley left standing after todays rain round here,this is one of about 5 fields of spring barley I've just passed. pic.twitter.com/xEy5ujdEdq— Malc Parr (@tractorman07)
Lincolnshire farmer and contractor, Malc Parr says most spring barley in his area has lodged. “The greener it is, the worse it has gone down it seems – it could have a dramatic effect on yield as grain fill has not yet finished.”
Wheat harvest is also anticipated to be earlier than usual, with those crops under stress from disease, likely to be the first to harvest.
Richard Hinchliffe, who farms 560ha (1,383 acres) near Goole says he expects wheat harvest to be towards the end of July.