After fears for wheat quality by some Devon growers, Troy Stuart’s initial samples have been promising.

“Harvest has gone well so far,” says Mr Stuart, who cleared his 200ha (500 acres) of oilseed rape around his Clyst St Mary base just over a week ago.

“But there’s still a long way to go – we have another 1200 acres of wheat to cut.”

Having finished 80ha (200 acres) of Hendon naked oats the farm’s Lexion 580 30ft cut combine moved into 16ha (40 acres) of Nov-sown Istabraq following forage maize just before the weekend.

“Given that the crop established pretty poorly I was pleased with its 3t/acre and the quality was OK at 73-74kg/hl.”

More encouraging still was his first field of September-drilled Solstice.

“It did 3.7t/acre after allowing for drying from 19% after Friday evening’s rain, and it’s a good sample at 79-80kg/hl.”

That is particularly pleasing because there had been much local concern over the impact of earlier hot, dry weather, he explains.

Subsequent fields have given up to 9.9t/ha (4t/acre).

Yields from his mostly undesiccated oilseed rape were “average to middling”.

“We budget for 1.5t/acre and tend to average 1.6t/acre.

This time we had up to 1.7t/acre on some better ground, but down to 1.2t/acre where we had pigeon damage and waterlogging in the winter.”

Trabant, a popular hybrid in Germany and which he was encouraged to grow by Grainfarmers, did well, he notes.

Apart from some cut at up to 16% moisture after rain, most of the rape came off at 8.5-10.5%.

His first cut of naked oats, off light land, yielded poorly.

But the remaining 57ha (140 acres) from better ground averaged 5.9t/ha (2.4t/acre).

“It husked well and it gave a lot of straw for a dwarf variety.”

His main regret is having sold 40% of his oilseed rape forward at a budgeted £150/t.

“But I’ve just sold another chunk at £174, so overall I expect we should average £160, and I have to be happy with that.”

andrew.blake@rbi.co.uk