Richard Payne has had a disastrous start to harvest at Manor Farm, Heathfield, Somerset, but yields are relatively pleasing.


“I fell off the combine and broke my ribs on Monday, then I cut my hand badly yesterday, and my poor cocker spaniel puppy was run over at the weekend,” he said. “I’m devastated.”

However, harvest itself was progressing well, having cut 40ha (100 acres) of Cabernet oilseed rape at 4.4-5t/ha (1.8-2t/acre).

“It’s about the same as last year, despite the dry spring.”

Mr Payne was in a 4ha (10-acre) field of oilseed rape today, leaving a further 12ha (30 acres) to finish off.

“When I started yesterday it was 14% moisture; by the afternoon it was 8.5%, and one load came in at 5.9% – I’ve never known a drying day like it.”

Wheat was not yet fit, and looked very variable, he added. “I’ve got some second wheats which look almost ready, and some which are a month away.

“We did have a fantastic plant population and would have broken all records if we’d had a decent spring. But some parts of the fields have definitely died out.”

Winter beans, on the other hand, looked very well, he added.


Crop: Oilseed rape
Variety: Cabernet
Area: 40ha (100 acres)
Yield: 4-4.5t/ha (1.8-2t/acre)