Harvest continued on a stop/start basis over much of the country with the weekend generally bringing drier weather which aided progress. Many growers are not anticipating a ‘vintage year’.
JS Peake & Son, based at Epperstone, Notts, are well into wheat. Foreman Alastair Baseley says Crispin C1 wheat cut in the last few days has been averaging 11.15t/ha (4.5t/acre) adjusted weight at between 15 and 17 per cent moisture. Earlier cuts came in at between 9.15t (3.7t) and 10t/ha (4.05t/acre). Bushel weight was 78. Skyfall averaged about 10t/ha (4.05t/acre).
Of oilseed rape, Incentive, at 4.96t/ha (2t/acre) performed best, down to 3.95t/ha (1.6t/acre) elsewhere. Bazooka winter barley yielded between 8.46-9.6t/ha (3.42-3.9t/acre) at 14 per cent moisture with a bushel weight of 68.
Richard Bowers, farming at Lower Drayton Farm, Penkridge, Staffs, was stopped by rain in the early hours of Monday morning [August 14] after ‘three good days’ combining’.
He started 142ha (350 acres) of wheat on the previous Friday. “It was only just ready - Skyfall at 14 per cent and Horatio on Sunday at 16.5 per cent. Yields were variable, between three and 3.5t/acre, but Horatio about 0.3t/acre better than Skyfall. It’s not a vintage year – the quality isn’t too bad, but we lost tillers during the drought.”
Glacier winter barley averaged just over 6t/ha (2.4t/acre). Mr Bowers, untroubled by cabbage stem flea beetle, is considering increasing OSR area next season at the expense of winter barley. Overall, OSR averaged 4.2t/ha (1.7t/acre) but was pulled down by one bad field, he says. “The rest was mostly over 2t/acre.”
According to East Midlands agronomist Sally Gray, crops are later the further west she goes. Wheat in the west of the region was hardly started last week, but some possibly past its best in the east, with concerns about sprouting, although better weather in the past few days has allowed progress to be made.
Barleys are yielding between 6.2-8.6t/ha (2.5-3.5t/acre) and OSR averaging about 3.7t/ha (1.5t/acre), but significantly higher in some places and ‘barely meeting a tonne’ in others, she says.
South Ayrshire farmer, Edward Pickering was relieved to get a spell of settled weather towards the end of last week which saw him make progress with OSR harvest. “There were some isolated showers but we seemed to miss most of them.”
OSR yields are better than last year, according to Mr Pickering. “Our Elgar OSR has averaged about 4.5t/ha (1.8t/acre), about 20 per cent higher than last year.”
While moisture contents have been higher than he would prefer, he is happy with the oil content which has averaged 44 per cent to date.
Farmer and Agrii regional technical manager David Felce, who farms near St Neots, Cambs, says there was a lot of rain in some places in his area last week but harvesting got underway at the weekend (August 12-13).
Although proteins have generally been good in second wheats in his area, yields have come under pressure, he says. “Even with the best crops yields are not where we would have liked to have seen them. The best ones have done 10-11 tonnes/ha and some of the poorer ones, 7-8t/ha on lighter land.”