All regions have been affected by unsettled weather during this harvest, however, there have been a couple of dry days recently that allowed the combines to roll in the Cotswolds, some going late into the night. Overall, farmers have been snatching opportunities to harvest whenever they have arisen between the showers.
The winter wheat harvest has now started properly, but up until 17th August only 20% of the national crop had been cleared. This is the second slowest start to the winter wheat harvest in the last eight years. Most crops harvested during this period required a spell in the grain dryer to achieve acceptable storage moisture levels, as the showers and humid weather had slowed the natural grain drying process.
Good straw yields have also been reported to date for winter wheat, although some areas report wet straw still lying in fields. The feed barley export markets are quiet and there is currently little demand.
Globally there is a logistics and supply chain problem, with a lack of available lorries causing haulage rates to be much higher than normal. This has resulted in some growers in key areas initially being able to obtain a small premium, but these have weakened considerably, compared with a few weeks ago.
Overall the UK harvest to date has been tricky and farmers have not been able to progress as quickly as they would like, with most needing a good dry spell to finish, and then get on with the Autumn cultivations. As at the date of writing (27 Aug) Feed Wheat prices for September were £181/t, Milling Wheat £205/t, Feed Barley £169/t and Oil Seed Rape £474/t, all higher than this time last year.