Combining of Expert oilseed rape began last night for Tom Coleman of Lower Norton Farm, Winchester.

Some 24ha (60 acres) of Expert had been cleared so far, as it had only just become ready.

He expected the total 60ha (150acres) to come in at a similar yield to his 44ha (110acres) of Castille, which did 3.75t/ha (1.5 t/acre) with 42-43% oil content. Mr Coleman said sclerotinia had been present, but overall he was happy with progress.

His winter wheat (Alchemy, Einstein, Robigus) looked “soggy” and although it was too early to tell how it would turn out, he was apprehensive about meeting budgeted profit margins.

Given the vast amount of rain, Mr Coleman said that he was fortunate because his land was chalk-based, so water logging had not been an issue,

Commenting on the dry April and wet June, he said, “It’s not exactly been an ideal growing season and I would like more sunshine”.

Winter barley had been dropped this year due to very poor gross margins, he noted.

• Crop: Oilseed rape
• Variety: Castille
• Area: 44ha
• Yield: 1.5t/ha
• Quality: 42-43% oils

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