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Reports today (July 21) indicate farmers were generally disappointed with oilseed rape yields in the south and east. Moisture levels in harvested crops were generally very low, with yields appearing to be held back by the dry end to the season.

Downham Market farmer Nick Pratt said oilseed rape yields were “struggling”, having begun cutting on July 19. Winner yielded 3.25t/ha and a small amount of Kalif yielded 3.35t/ha. Moisture levels varied between 5.5% and 9.1% where it had not been desiccated.

Ashford grower Martin Boulden said oilseed rape yields were up to 0.6t/ha down on last year. Lioness was yielding 3.3t/ha, while Excalibur and Caracas were at 2.5 – 3.1t/ha. “The yields are not very exciting.”

Yields of oilseed rape were a “terrible” 2.5t/ha for Paul Christian in Hertfordshire. He said yields were usually 3.5 – 3.75t/ha but the dry weather had affected them. Crops were also very dry with moisture levels at 5 – 6%, and he was concerned for big cracks in his ground. His maize was also disappointing him: “It’s not even up to our waist when it should be above our heads.”

But Barometer grower John Barrett in Suffolk was only just starting oilseed rape harvest. “Moisture has been good at 11%, and it’s coming down, but it’s too early to tell the yield. Rape is generally not ready around the area.”

Find out how Farmers Weekly’s barometer growers are getting on with harvest in our new Barometers’ Blog

See FWi’s Harvest Highlights section for the regional reports in full and more from around the country, updated every day.