“At 13.8% it‘s still relatively unfit, but there are no red grains and it‘s quite a nice sample,” reports Phil Kinch.

They are aiming to harvest just 50 tonnes before Friday‘s (July 16) threatened rain, but giving the new combine a decent run is proving difficult.

“It‘s a field with 16 telegraph poles in it. Also it has been quite difficult putting a machine with a 25-foot header into a crop that has been cut with a 16‘ swather.”

He is confident that the 50ha (120 acres) of Winner will perform well, although he is not yet sure of yield.

“We‘ve grown it for a couple of years now and it seems OK. It suits us well because it gets away well in the autumn, provided the moisture‘s there, and we‘ve had no problems with pod set.”

He admits the crop is not really ready, but with 18mm of rain forecast, wanted to make a start.

“But I‘m not too worried about the weather. It‘s actually much better for swathed rape – if you get searing heat you tend to get a more varied sample,” said Mr Kinch.

Meanwhile the wheat ears are “filling up nicely”, he reports.

“It‘s looking really good, and there‘s no storm damage, so we‘re quite pleased.”