UK Harvest Highlights: Good weather encourages combining in south of the country

FWi -- Combines are beginning to roll across the south and east of the country, with winter barley and oilseed rape looking reasonable.

Brian Shaw had cut 101ha (250 acres) of Flagon winter barley in Lilley, Beds, which had averaged about 6.8t/ha (2.75t/acre). “We made a start on the Carat last night, and on the oilseed rape this morning (21 July),” he said. “It’s been very slow to ripen, so it will be a fortnight until the last bits are ready.”

Sequel winter barley was also yielding reasonably well in Wiltshire, where David Hues was averaging just over 7.4t/ha (3.5t/acre).

In Dorset Barometer grower Peter Snell started combining his winter barley this morning, and hoped to be into the oilseed rape mid-week.

Richard Cobbald, one of FW’s Farmer Focus contributors in Cambridgeshire, expected to start combining his oilseed rape on Wednesday (23 July). The Tipple spring barley and winter wheat were all still a long way off, he said. “It’s looking pretty good though – I am quietly optimistic.”

Harvest had just begun at Clive Apps’ farm near Romney, Kent, with just under 20ha (50 acres) of Castille oilseed rape in the barn. “We’ve made a start on the best bit – the rest doesn’t look very good,” he said. The first plot yielded about 3.9t/ha (1.6t/acre) but a combination of poor establishment and damage from pigeons and rabbits meant the rest was unlikely to do that well.