This week's settled forecast will be welcomed by all growers, as much of the country’s winter wheat and spring barley is now ripe.

Since last month’s heatwave came to an end, broken wet weather has staggered harvest progress.

However, this hasn’t just been an Irish problem. Our nearest neighbours have also been affected by the unsettled weather.

Over the past month, British farmers have had to snatch any opportunity to harvest between the showers. Harvest progress is now well behind in many regions.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) estimated that the winter wheat harvest has now started across all regions in Britain.

By the end of last week, 20% of the national crop had been cleared. However, this is still 39% behind last year’s rate and 24% behind the five-year average.

Winter barley

The winter barley harvest is nearing completion in many regions in England, with odd pockets in the southeast and Yorkshire and the Humber still to cut.

Scotland and Wales are also nearing the finish point. Nationally, 99% of the crop is cleared, which is 3% ahead of the five-year average.

Oilseed rape

The winter oilseed rape harvest is in full swing across all regions, with 83% of the crop cut by the end of last week. This is a similar rate of progress to 2019 (85%).

The southwest, northwest and eastern regions are complete, with the southeast and east and west midlands all at or above 95% clear.

Winter oats

The winter oat harvest has now commenced in England and Wales. Some producers were concerned about shedding and lodging, and started to harvest during favourable weather windows.

As a result, there are reports of wet, sappy straw. Now at 16% complete, this is at a similar rate to 2019 (17%), but 20% behind the five-year average, the AHDB states.

Spring barley

The first fields of spring barley have now been cut in England, with only whole-crop spring barley harvested in Wales. Scotland has yet to start.

Nationally, 12% of the crop is now cleared, 9% behind the five-year average.

British harvest progress to 17 August can be summarised as:

  • Winter wheat – 20% complete. Yields currently estimated at 8t to 8.4t/ha (3.2t to 3.3t/ac).
  • Winter barley – 99% complete. Yields currently estimated at 6.9t to 7.1t/ha (2.7t to 2.8t/ac).
  • Spring barley – 12% complete. Yields currently estimated at 5.8t to 6.2t/ha (2.3t to 2.5t/ac).
  • Oats – 16% complete. Early winter yield estimate ranges between 6.4t and 6.8t/ha (2.5t to 2.7t/ac).
  • Winter OSR – 83% complete. Yields currently estimated at 3.3t to 3.5t/ha (1.3t to 1.4t/ac).