The oilseed rape harvest was sewn up quickly on Monday evening, allowing Cambridge grower Edd Banks to start cutting wheat.


Recent rains had already delayed the start of his harvest by a fortnight, only beginning last Thursday (28 July). Since then there has been hardly any let-up in the combining.

“We had a little nibble at the oilseed rape on Monday (25 July), but it was still too wet to cut,” said Mr Banks. “We came out on Thursday and it was dry enough to go flat out. We did that until Saturday lunchtime.”

Despite earlier concerns about the drought hammering yields, Mr Banks was now feeling more optimistic.

“Oilseed rape yields are by no means disastrous and definitely look better than last year’s poor average (3.2t/ha),” he said.

“We’re averaging around 3.5t/ha, which, although not spectacular, is better than I had originally thought. I think the rain in June must have saved us.”

By Monday evening, all 120ha of oilseed rape, consisting of DK Cabernet, Sesame and the high erucic acid variety Palmedor – grown for the first time on the farm – was in the farm’s grain store and ready for collection in the next two weeks.

“Although the Sesame died slightly earlier than the Cabernet it yielded marginally better,” he said. “Both are going into our seed crops for next year. The split will be 60% Cabernet and 40% Sesame.”

The bulk of the crop has been sold for harvest movement to Nidera and the remainder, including the Palmedor, to Frontier.

Mr Banks was also pleasantly surprised by the amount of straw that has been coming out of crops. “We are seeing about three to four bales an acre, which is about 1.5-2t/acre of straw.”

By Tuesday morning, around 100ha of Gallant second wheat had been cut. Early indications suggested yields in excess of 8t/ha.

“We have not had any samples done on the wheat yet. But the grains look like they have got a good thousand grain weight. They are not too small and shrivelled.”

This week, he was continuing to cut the second wheats. However, first wheats, starting with Cordiale, were not ready yet.