East Midlands grain trader Andrew Sedgwick said moisture content of oilseed rape was a problem in the area. “Whereas the minimum should be 6% moisture, we’re getting some in down at 3.5%.” Farmers were mainly concerned with getting the crop in before it could be damaged by weather, and so moisture levels remained a concern. Many farmers in the area were in the process of swathing the rape, although he noticed generally seeing more dessicating than swathing.

He suggested humidity could be blown in to floor storage, and some farmers had begun combining at night in order to reduce moisture problems. He also noticed clear differences between areas which had received more localised rain showers, with yields seen between 2.9 – 5t/ha on similar fields.

Winter barley harvest had started two days earlier than last year in the area, with 80% of the crop now cut. Quality was good with decent nitrogen levels. “I was expecting high screenings, but they are a lot lower than I thought.”

Farmers were more concerned for the later spring varieties than the winter barley due to the drought, he said. “There is definitely a noticeable difference field to field.”

Wheat harvest had begun three days earlier this year in the area on 18 July.. “The farmer was happy as yields were no different to usual on the land and quality was ok.”

He expected top wheat yields to have been affected by the drought, but for quality to be “reasonably good”. Pinched grains were to be expected on poorer soils, but he hoped for better crops on better land.

He added: “Generally we are a week to ten days ahead of usual which is surprising as we thought we were going to be ten days behind earlier in the season.”