Rain last night and this morning has brought the combine to a halt at Ian Piggott’s farm at Thrales End, Harpenden, Hertfordshire.

“It’s wet and miserable at the moment, but we’re hoping to get going again soon,” Mr Piggott told FWi.

“We’ve done all the rape – 125ha. It’s been very varied. We desiccated a third of it and left the rest to direct-cut.”

Mr Piggott has grown Castille and Astrid. “Castille was very variable at up to 3.8t/ha – some did a lot less than that – although it did all look very good.”
 
Astrid was better, Mr Piggott said. “It’s averaged about 3.8t/ha – which is about our five-year average.”

So far, Mr Piggott has cut about 80ha of wheat – 30ha of Solstice and 50ha of Robigus – with another 220ha left to cut including some Malacca.

“Solstice is a nice sample with few screenings. I’ve not had the protein results back yet. It probably did about 8.8t/ha. On a five-year average it’s about average but I was hoping it was going to be better.”

Robigus has produced a poor sample, Mr Piggott added.

“I’m expecting high screenings when I get the results back. It’s not an even-looking sample – quite pinched – and yield wise, it’s probably done a fraction more than the Solstice, again about average for the farm.

“I get the sense with Robigus it’s like the girl with the little curls: When it’s good it’s very good but when its bad its horrid!”

Wheat moistures have been around 16%, he confirmed. “The rape that we didn’t desiccate was very slow to ripen and I was cutting some wheat before the rape – that coincided with it getting cooler so it came in at 7.5%.”

Mr Piggott said a number of growers were cutting beans in the area. “I’ve only heard reports on moistures of about 14%.”

So how did he think harvest was faring?

“I suppose if you had taken me back a step two weeks ago in the middle of that very hot weather I was estimating lower yields than we are seeing, but it’s far from a spectacular year.”

Mr Piggott has sold about 60% of his wheat on contract. “The first lot was sold back in Feb. It’s very easy to back-trade and of course I still wish I had it to sell, but it’s all sold above £70.”

Crop: Oilseed rape
Variety: Astrid
Area: n/a
Yield: 3.8t/ha (average)
Quality: 7.5% moisture

Crop: Oilseed rape
Variety: Castille
Area: n/a
Yield: <3.8t/ha (slightly below average)
Quality: 7.5% moisture

Crop: Wheat
Variety: Solstice
Area: 30ha
Yield: 8.8t/ha (average)
Quality: 16% moisture; low screenings

Crop: Wheat
Variety: Robigus
Area: 50ha
Yield: 8.9t/ha (average)
Quality: 16% moisture; high screenings expected