Heavy showers halt harvest progress

Heavy showers halt harvest progress
2nd Aug 2013

 IN the South and East regions, combines moved into oilseed rape this week. But growers in the Midlands and northern counties were halted by further showers over the weekend. reports the FG


Farmer and contractor John Moss, based in South East Cornwall, has made a start on oilseed rape as well as winter barley.

Winter barley variety Cassia has exceeded Mr Moss’ expectations with 17.4 hectares (43 acres) yielding 8.23 tonnes per hectare (3.33t/acre) with a specific weight of 70kg/hl and straw yielding 4.94t/ha (2t/acre).

A Maris Otter crop cut for a customer yielded 5.68t/ha (2.3t/acre) with straw yields as equally impressive as those of the Cassia crop.

Oilseed rape crop harvested to July 29 has all been of variety Avatar, yielding at 3.38t/ha (1.37t/acre) and 42.2 per cent oil. The Cabernet due to be started soon is expected to yield around 4.4t/ha (1.79t/acre).

Mr Moss said: “The Avatar did not yield as well as it looked but the Cabernet looks to be a better crop.”

Paul Jowers from Essex started cutting oilseed towards the end of last week, with oilseed rape Expower yielding 4.3t/ha (1.74t/acre) at 41 per cent oil. With the last field of oilseed rape cut on July 29, Mr Jowers hopes to start wheat on July 31.

Suffolk-based Martin Meadows has been cutting Camelot oilseed rape as winter barley is still not ready. The Camelot came in dry at 9 per cent moisture and yielded 3.91t/ha (1.58t/acre) on July 26.

Mr Meadows said: “The yields were not amazing but it was on very light sandy soils.”

Further inland, Tim Malins, based in Bicester, Oxford, had cut 12.1ha (30 acres) of winter barley variety Cassia, coming in at 15 per cent moisture over the weekend and yielding 7.41t/ha (3t/acre) with ‘lots of straw’.

Brett Askew from Newcastle is growing Cassia winter barley and has made a start on combining, but said: “The winter barley yield is below our five-year average, but considering the season it is quite satisfactory.

“The potential we had a month ago has unfortunately been ruined by the hot sun.

“I believe we are one of the first to have a go in the area, but when the crop went into Camgrain after cutting it was 20 per cent moisture, so it will be another seven plus days before we go again after heavy rain at the weekend.”

Heavy rain meant Mr Askew was worried his crops, especially his spring barley, may not be standing come harvest. But only a quarter of an acre was down currently, he added.

In Nottinghamshire, Edward Hammond was still preparing for harvest after 100mm of rain over the weekend triggered flash floods, causing damage and some lodging to spring barley crops on heavy land.

Mr Hammond said: “At least the pressure is off irrigating potatoes. Not all the crops are flat on the ground; they may still come up a bit.”

And although warmer weather is expected to return by the end of the week, a forecast of unpredictable showers across the UK may delay further harvest progress for some growers.

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