Harvest Update

Harvest on the farm is now progressing rapidly after a slow start.  The initial problems have been travelling with the combine, which has been sinking in the saturated soil.  The solution to this problem has been to source a set of flotation ‘terra’ tyres and fit them to the combine.  Terra tyres have been trading at a premium over recent weeks and long waiting lists have been quoted for new wheel assemblies.  Luckily we knew of a neighbour who had a set that they weren’t using so all we had to do was get some wheel centres manufactured by a local engineering firm (£160 for the pair on Saturday morning) and we could get the wheels onto the combine.  The other choice would have been to add dual wheels to the existing standard combine wheels, however this can put excess stress on the hubs and is more likely to result in a broken wheel hub/axle.  The new tyres have proved useful as the combine has been able to travel along the heavy land fields, although they are still not providing sufficient carrying capacity on the saturated sand land.

Tomorrow will see the last couple of acres of winter barley finished, but we still have 16 acres of oilseed rape left to harvest.  The early drilled wheat is ‘fit’ and so tomorrow we will decide whether to try the rape again or go to the wheat.  The rape is most at risk of been lost to shedding as it has been ripe for sometime now, whereas the wheat is only just ready for harvesting and so would not come to any harm for a week or so.

Silage fields are now dry enough to cut, but the mower is currently having bearings replaced which were damaged by the floods.  Hopefully the mower will be ready by the time we have a window inbetween cereals harvest to make the silage.

On a slightly more embarrassing note, what I have failed to mention in this harvest report is what we have been busy doing this morning.  Last night at about 6pm I was driving the combine when I did the thing that all combine drivers fear most – I hit a tree with the unloading spout (the bit that sticks out of the side of the combine to transfer grain into the trailers).  It was the last strip of the field along a hedge side and I was concentrating on the pool of water/wet hole and the likelihood of bogging down, but unfortunately this had distracted my concentration away from the fact that the spout was in the out position and that I was going the wrong way round the field.  There was a huge bang and the emptying auger shaft was bent and the tube was broken back in one place and dented in several others, just when the sun was shinning and the newly aquired terra tyres were doing their bit.  The quote for a new one was in excess of £3,000, and although we are technically insured we decided to try and repair the damage, as after the recent floods we thought the insurance company may not be too receptive to our latest accident!  After some inventive engineering, grinding, bashing and welding by my brother until late on Monday night and then again on Tuesday morning, the repair was successful and we were back to the field by 2.30pm.  Needless to say that news of this sort spreads rapidly around the neighbours and we had several visitors today to see how the repair was going (or more likely they came to wind me up!)

My day started at 6.30am with spraying potatoes to protect against blight, helping repair the combine spout and then at 3.30pm I started round baling 29 acres of straw which I got finished at about 8.20pm.  One of the belt joiners on the baler has started to rip and so that must now be repaired.

Next job – SLEEP !

Written By Stephen @ Farming Friends