Monday, 9 September 2013

Harvest is Nearly Over

Harvest is nearly over and in general, although yields have not been astounding, the weather has been kind for once. It has probably been the least interrupted harvest for 5 or 6 years which is a welcome relief to everyone after the series of wet summers we have experienced in recent years which culminated in the disaster that was 2012.

The impact of last year’s weather has certainly affected this year’s yields with some “winter” crops which were established in wet conditions last autumn/winter really struggling but for those who held their nerve and planted crops this spring, these have performed reasonably well. The hot dry spell in June/July did result in some crops dying off prematurely which was particularly noticeable in beans and some cereals on lighter land.

However, in general it has been a positive story and many farmers have already been able to sow next year’s oilseed rape which needs to be in the ground before the end of August in order to produce a reasonable crop next year. Indeed as we move in to the transition period between the end of harvest and the start of cultivations for next year’s crop many farmers will be secretly hoping for a little rain so as to help with creating a seed bed and for the establishment of the next crop.

But we only want rain in moderation because there is a lot more work to be done before the winter is upon us. For example livestock farmers will be hoping that the weather is not too wet as many still want to take a late cut of grass silage and all the maize is still to be harvested. Last year was so wet that some maize crops were never harvested and that which was harvested was generally very poor.

Thankfully this year looks very different, with some good maize crops around and fingers crossed, if the weather does not deteriorate too much there is a reasonable chance of harvesting it towards the end of this month or the start of next. This would be a great boon to livestock farmers who should have a good store of winter forage in stock this winter which should help support milk production and the fattening of beef cattle.

So all in all, this summer’s weather has been a merciful relief to all farmers in the area; cattle have generally thrived out at pasture, crops have grown reasonably well, harvest has been straightforward and the establishment of next year’s crops is well underway – what a difference a year makes.

James Stephen MRICS FAAV
Rural Practice Chartered Surveyor, Wells

T: 01749 683381

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