East Anglia: ‘Difficult’ harvest for region’s farmers

FARMERS have reported a “difficult harvest” with the quality of wheat yields down 15% in some locations.

Farms, who said they are still running behind schedule after inconsistent weather hindered their attempts to bring in crops, said heavy rain through May, June and into July has significantly reduced the weight of grain.

Colin Clifton-Brown of Little Bradley Farm, in Little Bradley, near Haverhill, said wet weather has also made it difficult for combine harvesters to process the large quantities of green straw.

“It’s been a very difficult harvest so far. The very wet weather means we have a huge amount of straw and not much on the head. The straw is very green which makes it very hard to get through the combine and when you do get it through, there’s not much to put in the store,” he added.

The bushel weight, the weight of the individual grains, is also very low.

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Mr Clifton-Brown, who said he had high hopes for his crop in spring, said: “The quality is poor, the weight is poor, which will impact on the price.”

The farmer said although it was “early days” with 450 acres still to cut, he expected the yield of his wheat to be down about 15% on his average.

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Robert Baker, of JD and RJ Baker Farms, near Bury St Edmunds, said he hoped to finish his harvest today before the rain comes.

“At the moment it’s a case of so far, so good. Three months ago I thought we were on for a record harvest, but I think now it will be just above average.”

Mr Baker said his harvest had also been delayed by a high quantity of green straw.

“The crop has been very hard to thresh because of the greenness of the straw and the grains themselves are small and rather hard to get out.”

A spokesman for Anglia-based Weatherquest said there would be frequent outbreaks of heavy rain over the weekend.

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