First cuts of winter barley off chalkland at East Farm, Codford St Mary, Wiltshire are encouraging given the earlier drought, according to owner Josh Stratton.
Combining on his 1000ha of arable began on 7 July, a week to 10 days earlier than normal.
“We did about 75ha over the weekend and I’m very surprised at the yield. It came off at 18% moisture and the Colossus so far has done 8.5t/ha and the combine yield meter suggests Saffron’s giving about 8.2.
“Our five-year rolling average is 8.2, so it looks as though we’re a bit above that. On the more fertile parts of the fields the meter’s been showing over 10t/ha – elsewhere it’s been down to 6.5.”
Grain quality is also good.
“The bushel weight is excellent – 66-67kg/hl. We often struggle to get that with six-rows.”
But the April drought clearly took its toll. “There’s not a lot of straw. There’s good demand for it and I could have sold it three times over.”
There have also been rather too many green grains from secondary tillering.
“We’ve only cold air drying, so it’s going to be a long process.”
On Tuesday, having been rained off, he had 40ha of winter barley left to cut.
Oilseed rape, part desiccated, of which he has 180ha – all still standing as was his wheat – was next in line.
“We’ve only odd bits of oats that have gone down.”