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Heatwave prompts early harvest across the UK

The 2018 harvest campaign has kicked off around two weeks earlier than expected for some due to unusually high temperatures and lack of rainfall.

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Hampshire farmer, Martin Button began harvesting his Tower winter barley on June 28 – the first time he has ever started combining in June. “It is the first time I have harvested this early - we normally begin harvest around the July 14.

 

“Yields are averaging around 6-7t/ha, but we normally expect 8-8.5t/ha. The wheat will be a similar story with reduced yields expected – it’s not looking good.

“The trouble is the wheat is not ripening, it is dying,” he adds.

 

On July 2, Staffordshire farmer, Clive Bayle made a start harvesting a small acreage of winter barley grown on lighter land. “We cut some Tower winter barley and it was coming off at 13.5 per cent with a bushel weight of around 68.


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“Our barley is around two weeks earlier than usual but I expect our wheat and oilseed rape will be ready at a similar time to normal.

 

“The last two weeks of hot weather is definitely going to have an impact on crops yield. Being in a zero-till system helps retain some soil moisture, but I don’t think we will be breaking any records this year.”

 

Harvest progress has not been exclusive to winter barley – in Cambridgeshire the dry weather forced farmer, James Morton to cut 24ha (60 acres) of Flamingo OSR on July 2.

 

He says: “We sowed the variety for the first time this year on some light gravelly land and it performed well over-winter but this recent hot weather has just caused the crop to give up so we have had to go in with the combine early.

 

“The moisture started off at 8.5 per cent but went down to 7.7 per cent by the time we had finished. The crop was doing around 1.5t/acre.”

Mr Morton expects to start cutting some winter barley towards the end of the week [w/c July 2].

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