Cornwall is suffering from its fourth wet harvest on the trot, with winter barley brackling over and some wheat going flat.


“If Guy Smith has the driest farm in England, I think I have the wettest sometimes,” said Mike Hambly at Wescott Barton, Callington.

“It’s just unbelievable – the rest of the country is in drought, and here it is just wet all the time – it’s been diabolical.”

By combining at all hours of the night, Mr Hambly had finished his oilseed rape – even though it took five attempts to get just 6.5ha (16 acres) between showers.

Fortunately, the 26ha (63 acres) of Pioneer W22 and W31 produced record yields, at 4.8t/ha (1.93t/acre) dry over a weighbridge, with an oil content of 45.3%.

That was despite being drilled three weeks late, in the third week of September, following last year’s wet harvest, and suffering from frost damage over the winter.

As the showers were alternating with dull, damp days, Mr Hambly had only managed to cut one 0.8ha (1.9acre) field of winter barley.

“It desperately needs combining and is all brackled over – the problem will be cutting the heads off.”

Wheat had lodged in places, but the oats were still standing. “Everything is just fit together now – we just can’t get at it.”


Crop: Oilseed rape
Varieties: W22 and W31
Area: 26ha (63 acres)
Yield: 4.8t/ha (1.93t/acre)



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