Chris Butler has almost finished harvest at Bush Farm, Stow-cum-Quy, Cambridgeshire, but has one field that is still too wet to combine.

“I tried it yesterday (9 September) and the combine kept sinking,” he said. “We had 45mm of rain in two hours over the Bank Holiday weekend which didn’t help it.

“The wheat is not that thick, so most of it is still standing, although some has keeled over. I think I’m going to have to get a contractor in to get it drained.”

Wheat yields had been pretty poor, averaging 5.6t/ha at the home farm, where rabbits had decimated one field in particular, and 6.2t/ha at a nearby contract farm, said Mr Butler.

“The bushel weight is slightly down, at 72-74kg/hl, but the main problem is the DON mycotoxin test, which came in at 1500 on one block.”

Tipple spring barley had yielded well, at 6.2t/ha on lighter land, and 7.4t/ha on stronger ground. “It’s all made malting, so I’m very pleased.”

Cubic and Astrid oilseed rape, grown as seed crops on virgin rapeseed ground and drilled in August, had both averaged 4t/ha.

“The Cubic was a lovely crop to combine – a lot of rapeseed went quite leggy, but it was only about three foot tall so it was very easy.”

Mr Butler had managed to drill next year’s rapeseed as well, and wasn’t suffering from slugs on his light land. “It was all up five days after we drilled it.

“We can’t really complain about this year’s harvest – we had oilseed rape, spring barley, wheat and sugar beet. The sugar beet will hopefully meet our quota, so three good crops out of four isn’t too bad.”


Crop: Winter wheat
Variety: Solstice
Yield: 5.6-6.2t/ha


Crop: Spring barley
Variety: Tipple
Yield: 6.2-7.4t/ha


Crop: Oilseed rape
Varieties: Cubic and Astrid
Yield: 4t/ha