Geoff Thomas has had mixed results with winter barley harvest at Pantycoch Farm, Letterston, Haverfordwest, having started combining on Wednesday (23 July).

“It’s been a funny year,” he said. “Everything has looked really well and then when you start combining you think that it should have been better.”

Mr Thomas blamed a lack of rain for the discrepancy, with some farmers already talking of opening silage clamps to feed their livestock. “There’s no grass around here at all.”

So far he had cut some California and Matros winter barley, both of which appeared to have yielded reasonably well.

“Counting the trailer loads off the fields, I’d guesstimate the first field, grown after oilseed rape, yielded over 8.6t/ha, but low bushel weights could mean it’s lower than that.”

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The California sample looked really good, but the Matros was utter rubbish, said Mr Thomas. “It’s horrible – it’s not a lot better than budgie food. We haven’t had it tested – it’s in the back of the barn and I don’t want to look at it.”

A neighbour’s Florentine also appeared to have yielded well but wasn’t of great quality either, he added.

“It’s sweltering here today. The spring barley appears to be hanging on, but I was baling near the coast yesterday and could see great dead bits in it. I don’t think it will be half the bumper harvest that people were saying it’s going to be.”

It was a similar story on the oilseed rape. “It looks like it should be good, but I’m hearing reports that it’s flattering to deceive. Perhaps that’s why the price went up £7/t yesterday – there’s not going to be as much round as the merchants thought.”