“The key ingredient is sun – that‘s what we‘re looking for,” he said.

“We had a good spell of sunshine four to five weeks ago which has really helped the barleys.

“The wheats haven‘t had the benefit of that sunshine in the same ripening period, but both crops now need two to three weeks of fine, sunny weather.”

One or two fields had been cut in Dorset, Mr Leachman reported.

“In order to spread harvest, some are getting stuck in early. But for most this is still too early – moisture is still up above 18% and the grain is still cheesy and soft.”

Bushel weight on some early samples he has seen – Pict, for example – is up in the 63-67kg/hl bracket.

“Early barleys can be poor, but these results aren‘t bad. Seems the newer varieties are beginning to produce the goods.”