Weather conditions hampering harvest

HARVEST TIME: This year's wheat yields are, so far, below the five-year average.
HARVEST TIME: This year's wheat yields are, so far, below the five-year average.
0
Have your say

HARVESTING conditions continue to prove to be challenging in Yorkshire as the weather makes it more difficult for farmers.

Information this week from industry body ADAS showed that nationwide around half of the UK’s wheat crop had been harvested with yields showing to be below the five-year average.

Yields are also down for winter barley which has been 95 per cent harvested so far.

Elsewhere 20 per cent of the UK’s crop of spring barley has been harvested while 90 per cent winter oilseed rape crops are said to have been harvested.

In the last week parts of Yorkshire have seen more than 20mm of rain, which ADAS said has caused some disruption to the harvesting process. The cooler and overcast conditions seen in some areas has also resulted in crops being slow to dry out. As a result harvesting days have been reduced to just one to three short days between the showers but many of these crops are said to be only just ripe, minimising the disruption.

The showery conditions have resulted in heavy overnight dews, meaning that some 90 per cent of grains harvested have needed drying.

Oilseed rape moisture in Yorkshire has been as high as 14 per cent.

ADAS said: “The last week had mixed weather conditions, with most of the south and east dry, but overcast, and the north and west showery.

“This has had implications for the amount of harvesting possible in each of the regions.

“Further north and west an increasing frequency of showers meant that harvest time was reduced 1-3 days, which were often short.

“Steady progress has been made with the UK wheat harvest over the last week less than 50 per cent of the UK area harvested to date.

“Yields are improving as more crops are harvested, but are still below the five-year average.”

For wheat the average yield is up to 7.7 t/ha.

The overall quality of the early harvested wheat was assessed by ADAS as being “good”.

The report comes after one of the more interesting growing periods on record, with rainfall being all but non-existent during the spring in many parts of Yorkshire and the UK.

Continued spells of hot and dry weather, punctuated with heavy rainfall, have made life increasingly difficult for farmers in the region.

For the coming weeks the amount of harvesting done will be dictated by how the showers are distributed.