Michael Manners started combining his 77ha (190acres) of Hearty High Erucic Acid winter oilseed rape this morning (25 July) and is reasonably optimistic about crop prospects.

He expects yields on his farm near Darlington to average around 4.2-4.4t/ha (34-35cwt/acre), which is “about right” for HEAR varieties, he said. “I think it will be alright – the seed looks a bit bigger than last year.”

But he is disappointed with the performance of the Roundup (glyphosate) used to desiccate crops 10 days ago, pointing to the very dry conditions as a possible cause. “It’s hardly worked at all, stems are still green.”

He thinks some of his 260ha (650acres) of Alchemy, Robigus, Gladiator and Napier winter wheat will be ready once the oilseed rape is finished.

“The rape’s about right, but the wheat’s almost a week earlier than usual. I don’t think it’s burnt off too quickly – grain seem to have filled reasonably well and I think they’ll be ok.”

Mr Manners is concerned that the lack of rainfall will affect potato bulking and yields. “We’re desperate for rain. We do irrigate, but the potatoes really can’t cope with the heat and sunshine from morning to night.”