Ian Branstone is busy unblocking his grain dryer at Bourton Hill Farm, Bourton-on-Water, Gloucestershire, as he tries to keep pace with the combine.
“Harvest is going slowly at the moment, but we’re getting on relatively well,” he said. “We had some wheat that had gone flat, so we prioritised that and have got it in the barn.”
Yields had been good, with Santiago producing just over 11t/ha on one block of land and just over 12t/ha on another. “We had a little bit of Dickens which did 13t/ha,” added Mr Branstone. “It’s unbelievable.”
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Odyssey spring barley was even more astonishing, yielding 9t/ha. “It was sold on a good low nitrogen malting contract so made a nice premium, unlike the wheat, which needs to yield well to make up for the low price.”
Mr Branstone still had 60ha of winter wheat left to cut, as well as winter beans. “They look very good,” he said.
Cassia winter barley had continued the pleasing streak, yielding 9.5t/ha, but oilseed rape had seriously let the side down.
“We had Avatar, which did 3.2t/ha, Cabernet was closer to 4t/ha and Quartz was just over 4t/ha,” said Mr Branstone.
“I think the difference was varietal – the Avatar looked fabulous but came fit very quickly, and was cut before the winter barley, which you don’t expect.”