Wheat yields were sharply lower on the Cambridgeshire Fens, with one grower reporting yields down one-quarter from last summer on his fertile, heavy silt soils.

Stephen Edgley was busy cutting the feed wheat variety Santiago on Wednesday (10 August), achieving yields of 7.5-8.0 t/ha, down from the bumper 2015 harvest when average farm yields were about 10-11t/ha.

He reported good big ears on his wheat crops this season, but they were not full of grain, and those grains harvested were pinched rather than plump.

Wheat being harvested

Stephen Edgley’s wheat harvest

“It’s very disappointing, but reflects the experience of a number of farmers in the area,” he tells Farmers Weekly.

See also: Harvest 2016: Late-maturing crops showing better yields

Lack of sun

Despite a full fungicide programme, the lack of sun in the early summer was largely blamed for causing the small grains and lower yields.

The Santiago crop was grown on Mr Edgley’s Ransonmoor Farm, near Doddington, just south of the town of March, and is part of his 900ha farming operation. He had cut 35ha of his 390ha of winter wheat by Wednesday.

His other crops also showed lower yields, with oilseed rape this summer at about 3.1t/ha compared with his average farm yields of up to 5t/ha, while winter barley yielded about 6.5t/ha this summer compared with average farm yields of 7.5-8.0t/ha.