Thursday, 27 August 2015

British summer time and harvest is becoming a complete wash out!

Harvest weather. At least this field has been combined and the straw baled.

Oh dear - another great British summer in progress! Here in Hampshire yesterday we had monsoon conditions, with many roads flooded and arable fields resembling paddy fields, full of ripe ready to harvest grain, but completely sodden.

Farmers across the country are now beginning to pull their hair out as this ghastly weather continues day after day, as not only are crops ready to be harvested, but Oil seed rape needs to follow in behind,  once the cereal crop has been removed. As a consequence a lot of Rape may be drilled late, missing out on the optimum timing, making it more vulnerable to flea beetle and pigeon attack later in the winter.

Farmers will be forced to get the combines rolling as soon as a gap in the weather allows, however, this will almost certainly mean that they are collecting grain with a high moisture content, so that it will have to be dried once it is back in the farm store. This is an unwelcome additional cost to production, in a year when market prices are already only offering a meagre return at best. 

The other problem that will start to kick in before too long is that the quality of grain will be affected, as prolonged wet weather will increase the likelihood of grain diseases occurring and in the worst case scenario, grain actually starting to sprout, while still in the "ear" or head of the crop. I have been told today that this has in some cases already started to happen.

So, if you come across a farmer drowning his or her sorrows in the pub this weekend and moaning about the weather - please show some sympathy towards them as they really do have something to groan about! The situation is starting to become really quite serious.

Even if the weather improves, for many it will be a number of days before the ground will allow a combine to travel

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