Monthly Archives: July 2017

Harvesting has started with the traditional rituals

Wimbledon is well under way, the Tour de France is in it’s second week and most of the country is complaining about how hot it has become. It can only mean one thing; harvest is about to start.

Sure enough we have been out testing the crop each day. We stand in the field, pick a few heads of winter barley and rub out the chaff. Next stage is to look closely at the grain and see if it looks full and ripe, I’m not sure if there’s any value in this but it’s what my dad did and and what his dad did and now I do it and I’m sure my son or daughter will too.

After the grain has been inspected you take a few individual pieces and pop them into your mouth, see how hard you have bite before they crack and guess the moisture, everyone has their own idea and we  say “its about 16%” then someone will disagree  “no, its dryer than that I recon it’s 14 and a half” last of all the pessimist of the group will say “your all wrong. it’s nowhere near ready, I’d say its 18% ‘cos it’s not cracked my dentures”.

There’s only one thing for it, we get out the moisture meter and test a sample. It’s what we should have done to start with but there are rituals to go through in all walks of life and harvesting is no different.

The digital reader will confirm one of our number to be correct and if it’s dry enough or it looks like it might rain later and not stop for 40 days then the combine driver is told to get to work and not loose too much over the back or there will be hell to pay.

This year we’re going through the ritual with winter barley, winter wheat, beans and oats. Wimplebridge is a traditional farming village and will be carrying out the “crop testing” just like so many other places at this time of year up and down the country.