This year has been the worst harvest in generations at Freemans Farm, Barrow Gurney,  Bristol, with a plethora of crop failures.

“Of our 12ha of Quench spring barley, we had just over 3ha which didn’t germinate properly due to the wet weather in June,” said Chris Vowles.

“I also grow swedes and turnips, which I planted in excellent conditions in May, and then they were washed away in June. I planted a second lot and the same thing happened.”

With a thriving vegetable business and ideally located next to Bristol, Mr Vowles had no roots to market this year, a real downfall considering his good relationship with the local market.

“It’s definitely been the worst year. Last year we lost some veg but we still had some to sell. This year we’ve lost all of it.”

His family had farmed in the same village for 90 years, and looking back he reckoned it was the worst harvest he or his late grandfather would ever have experienced.

However, all was not lost, and Mr Vowles hoped to have completed his cereal harvest by the end of the week.

“We’ve cut 13.6ha of Cassia winter barley which wasn’t brilliant,” he said.

“We’re also about 60-70% through the Claire winter wheat, with yields at around 5t/ha, which isn’t too bad considering the circumstances.”

Despite some of the spring barley failing to germinate, the remaining 9ha was doing quite well.

“The spring barley has left plenty of straw and hasn’t yielded badly. It’s quite good, especially as it’s a cheap crop to grow,” he added.

“Bushel weights have been poor and I expected a lot more, but we’ve cut at reasonable moisture contents. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel.”



Crop: Winter Wheat
Variety: Claire
Area: 12ha
Yield: 5t/ha