Harvest is proving surprisingly late at Berkyn Manor Farm, Horton, Berkshire, with all crops likely to ripen at once.


“We normally start on 30 June or the first week of July; we had pencilled in to start today (11 July), but nothing is ready,” said Colin Rayner.

“We’ve just got our two combines out of the stinging nettles; every year we say we’re going to service them at Christmas and we never get round to doing it.

“We desiccated a neighbour’s winter beans and they might be the first thing to cut. Our barley is still green in the rows and under trees, and the oilseed rape will probably be ready before it.

“Even the rape has stood still for the past two weeks, which means everything is going to come at once.”

Mr Rayner expected his winter barley to yield above average, with rape about average, and wheat below average.

“I think we’re in for a wet harvest; I think it may be one of the toughest years for the arable industry – most farms have underestimated the costs of growing these crops, and even at these prices margins will be squeezed.”