Oilseed rape and first wheat yields have been below expectations for Cambridgeshire grower Richard Blackhurst, who farms near Huntingdon.

His 20ha of Excalibur oilseed rape yielded 3.9t/ha, Borneo 4.3t/ha and the 14ha of Expert cut so far is averaging close to 3.5t/ha. “Yields are not as promising as expected – we would have liked to be closer to 4.5t/ha.”

All oilseed rape was desiccated, apart from the Expert, which is still not quite ripe enough, he noted. He is relieved that heavy (10mm in 10minutes) rain last weekend (22 July) did not cause any pod shatter to the standing crop. “No doubt if we’d got hail, it would have been a different matter.”

Next season he plans to drop Excalibur and Expert in favour of Borneo and Lioness.

Mr Blackhurst has also cut around 35ha (87acres) of Malacca winter wheat, which averaged 7.7-8.5t/ha at 12.2% moisture and bushel weights between 78-72kg/hl.

“Yields are about 0.5t/ha down, which is not a disaster, but for a first wheat, is nothing to write home about.”

Despite the dry weather crops seemed to hold on quite well, which may have slowed the progress of his 1680 Axial-flow combine, fitted with 20ft header, he added. “The Malacca was very slow going – we only averaged about 12t/hour – the straw wasn’t fit, but the grain was.”

Mr Blackhurst has about another180ha of wheat still to cut and hopes to start again later today.