Harvest pressure builds but trials offer hope for '13
July 24. We should be discussing harvest yields of winter oilseed rape and the start of the winter barley harvest. Instead, we have just about finished desiccation of the rape and started desiccation of winter barley.
That said, winter barley has turned rapidly in the past week and, given reasonable conditions, harvest may start by the end of the week.
The delayed desiccation of rape will result in harvest commencing in mid August when by right we should be starting to sow the 2013 crop.
Many of this year's crops are suffering badly with pod rot due to a range of diseases including light leaf spot and alternaria followed by secondary infections with botytris. The problems are greatest in lodged or leaning crops where air circulation is poor and the crop remains wet due to almost constant rainfall.
Yield potential in those crops has been hit very hard and some crops which we had hopes of more than 2t/ac five or six weeks ago may now do well to achieve half of that figure.
Some farmers who sold their rape in advance will find it difficult, if not impossible, to meet their contracts. Seed availability is unlikely to be a problem but work overload with delayed harvesting will put a lot of pressure on for sowing.
It looks as if the only opportunity to sow rape will be after winter barley. Farmers will have to be organised and have everything ready to go as soon as conditions permit. The late harvest will also mean crops may be sown before the recommended list will be published.