Harvest is still slightly ahead of normal in the South West, despite frequent showers hampering progress over the past week or two.

According to Ian Eastwood, marketing manager at West Country Grain, Cannington Grainstore had taken in 65-70% of its total tonnage, with Devon Grain about 55% through.

“Wheat quality is still very pleasing and the oats are bright, with good bushel weights all round,” he said. “So the wet weather hasn’t done any damage so far.”

Farmers were managing to combine between the showers, with most wheat coming off at about 15.5-16% moisture. “They’ve made some big savings on drying costs this years.”

See also: Barley growers press for bigger market share.

Most milling wheat had been cut in July, and proteins were on the low side. “Some samples are in the low 12s%, but the average won’t be far off 13%,” said Mr Eastwood.

“Some people finished combining in July, while others have only just started their wheat.”

Oilseed rape had been disappointing, but winter barley, oats and wheat had been extremely good in general, he added. “There were some star performers and some disappointments, but wheat should have averaged 8.6-9.9t/ha.”

Some spring barley had been now been cut, and wasn’t looking particularly promising, said Mr Eastwood. “It’s yielding okay, but there are some blackened, skinned and diseased grains.

“Disease pressure is always high in the South West and it just seems to have suffered towards the end.”