Andrew Watts is about a fifth of the way through harvest at Wallington Farms, Royston, Hertfordshire, with winter barley and oilseed rape in the barn.

“Yesterday (20 July) was a bit of a washout, but we’ve been very fortunate in avoiding too many thunderstorms,” he said.

“We’re just getting ready to go again now – while other people had 12-15mm of rain last night we escaped with just 2mm.”

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Crop facts

  • Crop: Oilseed rape
  • Varieties: PR46W21, Incentive & Cabernet
  • Yield: 3.5t/ha

So far Mr Watts had cut two-thirds of his oilseed rape and a third of his winter barley. “The rest of the rapeseed is ready now – it ripened quickly in the heat last week,” he said.

“However, yields aren’t anything special to speak of at between 3.5t and 3.75t/ha – we’ll probably average 3.5t/ha.”

Most of the rapeseed was PR46W21, he added. “We had some Incentive, which didn’t seem that much better than the PR46. We also had 40ha of Cabernet, which did as well as anything else.”

Crop facts

  • Crop: Winter barley
  • Varieties: Cassata & Florentine
  • Yield: 7.5t/ha

However, Mr Watts planned to stick with growing hybrid varieties on the heavier ground, due to more vigorous establishment.

The Cassata and Florentine winter barley was yielding well, at about 7.5t/ha. “That’s on the good side of average for our ground, so we’re very pleased. The quality is good too, with the bushel weights and nitrogen contents where we want them.”

So far Mr Watts had cut 440ha, leaving another 1787ha to do. “Considering it’s only 21 July, that’s pretty good,” he said. “We’ve hardly had to dry anything either – although I’m sure the drier will be active fairly soon.”