Frontier agronomist Andrew Roy, who covers North Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland describes the harvest situation as ‘pretty demoralising at the moment after another weekend of rain’.
While most barley and oilseed rape is now cut in North Yorkshire, in Durham barley is 80-90 per cent cut and OSR, 60-70 per cent harvested, while in Northumberland progress is less.
Most wheat is still to cut in Mr Roy’s region. Yields have been exceptional for barley and most OSR ‘pretty good as well’, he adds.
However, soil conditions are wet and there is anxiety about getting off crops still to harvest and drilling oilseed rape, he says.
Intense rainfall in some parts of North Yorkshire in recent weeks has also led to lodging in some wheat crops, he adds.
Russell McKenzie was disappointed that he was not be able to get the combine out yesterday (August 12) to continue wheat harvest, which is about half complete.
“We had 5mm of rainfall on Sunday, more than we were expecting which messed things up,” he said.
“We’d had 20-30mm the other week and the high winds on Saturday had dried it out but we were back to square one on Sunday.”
Farming near Huntingdon, in Cambridgeshire, Mr McKenzie says even if wheat is slightly above the required moisture level, he may cut some today.
He said: “If we lose the following couple of days at least we will have got it in to dry.”
Wheat crops were battered with heavy rain and 40-50mph winds at Tom Martin’s farm near Peterborough, leading to some crops falling over, and putting a halt to harvest.
He said: “We lost some Dunston feed wheat, and Revelation has lodged in a small number of places. Our Zyatt is down in places too but not flat.”
Quality is also starting to demise as the wet weather continues.
Mr Martin said: “Some grain is starting to chit in the ear and some rot is setting in, but that is to be expected.
“It has been ripe for nearly three weeks and it has gone wet and dry every second or third day so it is very poor conditions for keeping wheat and malting barley quality.”
Despite this, early wheat yields have topped the five-year average of 8.6t/ha, with the first field of KWS Zyatt yielding 10t/ha, and second wheat yielding 8.5t/ha at 16 per cent moisture.