UK: Combines busy trying to beat the thunderstorms

FWi -- Combines have been out in force over the weekend, with many farmers trying to get as much in the barn before forecast thunderstorms stop play.

Martin Howlett started the first of his Sequel winter barley at Deer Park Farm, Callington, Cornwall, yesterday, averaging a pleasing 6.2t/ha (2.5t/acre) With thunderstorms forecast this afternoon we wanted to crack on and get as much in as possible, he said.

In Shropshire Andrew Craig had finished his winter barley, and was just starting on the oilseed rape. The barley has come off exceptionally well, he said. The 53ha (130 acres) of Carat and Saffron feed barley averaged 9.4t/ha (3.8t/acre) over the weighbridge. We even had one field which hit 9.9t/ha (4t/acre) - I couldn't believe it.

Oilseed rape yields continue to vary, ranging from 2.5-4.3t/ha (1-1.75t/acre) at Peter Wombwell's Rectory Farm, Saffron Walden, Essex. I should think we averaged about 3.3t/ha (1.3t/acre), he said.

In Cambridgeshire, Anthony Morbey was about three-quarters of the way through his oilseed rape, and was not impressed with the results. It is not fantastic - we might average 2.5t/ha (1t/acre), which is low, he said.

But Alistair Pinkerton was pleased with above-average yields of 3.5t/ha (1.4t/acre) in Hertfordshire, where he finished cutting the rape at midnight last night. He was planning to Roundup his Xi19 winter wheat this afternoon, which would then be ready to combine in about a week.