Ben Atkinson had combined only 20% of his 730ha (1800 acres) of oilseed rape, mostly that which had been swathed earlier this week.

“What we’ve done has yielded well. It was 15% moisture and we wouldn’t normally contemplate cutting at that, but we’re lucky in having a continuous flow drier.

“The worry now is not only getting harvest in, but the damage we are doing to soil structure. It was very muddy. I now understand why combines are fitted with independent brakes – to help steer in mud!”

Choosing the most appropriate following cultivations would prove tricky and costly if it meant resorting to ploughing, he added.