A dry spell over the last week has meant combines across the southern half of England are rolling into action after a challenging season for many.
At Burgess and Walker in Cambridgeshire, oilseed rape harvest got off the ground on Monday (July 6).
Paul Wilson of Burgess and Walker says: “This is earlier than normal for us, but it was drilled on about August 10 which is three weeks earlier than normal. We saw a perfect window with ground conditions great to drill early on, so we pushed on to get it in before a big chunk of rain was due.”
The crop of Elgar is yielding 2.7t/ha at 7.6 per cent moisture.
Mr Wilson adds: “So far we are pleased with how it is yielding – it could be better but also could be a lot worse.
“This year we seemed to get away with a big attack from flea beetle and suffered a lot less damage unlike last year where we had to write a lot off due to moisture and flea beetle.
“We are still undecided on the amount to drill next year and think we have to drill to the right conditions at the time. We will plan to drill early like this year if conditions are there as it is certainly becoming harder and harder to grow.”
Also in Cambridgeshire, James Peck of P X Farms near Cambridge started on a 66-hectare field of Belfry hybrid winter barley.
Mr Peck says: “We have so far harvested 14.5ha. We are on a headland but only get 7.7t/ha so nothing fantastic. I am hoping it gets better as it gets through the field.”
“This about the average time to start harvest here in Cambridgeshire for winter barley. The straw is a bit green at the bottom, but we are getting 14.2 per cent moisture and 68-69kg/hl bushel weight.”