Sun shines on UK harvest for once

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IN A reflection of the unbroken good weather so far this summer, an astounding 1.3 million hectares of cereals were combined in Great Britain in the past week, according to the Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA) the highest acreage harvested in any seven-day harvest period for a good number of years.

The HGCA reckon that four-fifths of the national crop has now been combined and that harvesting in 2013 has now caught up long-term averages on harvest dates.

Estimating the yield of this year’s crop, the HGCA puts wheat at 7.6 to 7.7 tonnes per hectare, slightly below the five-year average but with great variability depending on soil type. The quality of the wheat has generally been good.

Spring crops, according to the HGCA, are yielding slightly above average and with 70 per cent of the barley crop now taken the estimate is 5.6 to 5.7 tonnes per hectare.

In Scotland, the chairman of the NFUS combinable crops committee, Andrew Moir, reported completing harvest in Laurencekirk on Wednesday, ten days ahead of his normal time.

“The peculiarity was, and this is a first in my farming career, we finished wheat and oilseed rape on the same day! Rape was mostly 11-12 per cent and wheat was an astonishing 16-17 per cent.”