FARMING MATTERS: Watching the barley harvest coming in

Watching the barley coming in
Watching the barley coming in

Well, the barley harvest is finally in thank goodness. I am writing this some time before you will read it, so hopefully by the time this is in print the wheat harvest may well be in too.

We have three crops to harvest this summer, and will also be bringing in beans (for cattle feed).

It’s always an exciting day when the combine arrives. We don’t have our own - we use a contractor. The combines these days are massive and the drivers are experts at manoeuvring through gateways and around corners, as well as having to drive on the public roads between farms.

My mother happened to be visiting for a week when the barley was harvested so I took her down to the field to watch as the combine drove up and down and then stopped to off load the grain into the waiting tractor and trailer.

We had to sit in the car with the windows closed to avoid breathing in the huge amounts of dust that get thrown up while the combine is at work, but my mother was fascinated to see it all happening. We then followed the tractor and trailer back to the farm and I took her into the yard to see the grain tipped into the newly cleaned out yard.

It took several loads to get the field cleared, and now all the barley will have to be moved from the yard and into the barn where it will be stored to go through the mill to feed the bull beef.

We don’t have the luxury of a lot of storage facilities on our farm and so it’s a race against time to get the barley moved to make room for the wheat harvest coming in soon afterwards.

The wheat is a cash crop for us in that we will sell it for milling. We also hope to sell the beans, although may decided to keep a few back for feeding to our own cattle.

Then of course after everything is harvested it will be time for ploughing and the whole cycle will begin again as we plant the crops for next year’s harvest. Check out this column online on Saturday morning to see a video of a barley harvest.