WORD ON THE GROUND: Reflections on hardest harvest ever experienced

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When I last wrote we were about a week away from starting our potato harvest and now, three months later, we are just about to finish our last field of 25 acres, which has been waterlogged for most of the summer, so it could be rather messy.

It has been one of the hardest harvests that I and many of the guys on the farm have ever experienced.

With the difficult harvesting conditions our change in planting and harvesting machinery two years ago has paid dividends.

We have hardly seen the effects of the prolonged rainfall on the quality of the ridges formed by the planting system and the Grimme self-propelled harvester has come into its own, being able to travel on days when others couldn’t.

We will have been averaging around 11 acres a day throughout the season, with a top day of 18 acres, thanks to the hard work and long hours of the farm’s team, and we are very grateful for all of their efforts.

Harvest in general has been very disappointing in the UK, with wheat production down by an estimated 13 per cent, and the potato crop will be similar.

This will no doubt have a big effect on the price we pay for food and will hit the whole country hard.

We are now pushing on with sugar beet harvest and in the next few days expect to start the maize harvest, delayed by about a month because of the cold and overcast summer and the crop not maturing quickly enough.