Steve Dawson is cutting winter wheat near Swainby, Northallerton, Yorkshire, today (10 September), and hopes to be finished by the end of the week.
“There’s 10-20% of the wheat left to cut in the area, and most people should be finished by the weekend, weather permitting,” he said. “We’ve made up a lot of time over the past week.”
Duxford as a second wheat had yielded 7.7t/ha, which was pleasing given that many crops in the area were doing 5t/ha.
“Anything that starts with a three (tonnes per acre) is going to be a good crop this year. But I’ve only got Duxford and Oakley at home, which are at the bottom of the trials table, which doesn’t bode well.”
Most crops were coming into Mr Dawson’s grain store at 16.5% moisture and were averaging about 72kg/hl.
“I had to reject 200t yesterday that was 53kg/hl. That’s just unsaleable, as a lot of mills are rejecting loads below 64kg/hl.
“The low input farmers are going to be hammered this year,” he added. “We might end up with yields 1.9t/ha above the area average, but at a high cost, with five fungicide applications.”
Pelican winter barley had yielded 8.6t/ha, which initially appeared disappointing. “But in hindsight, I’m quite happy with it.”
Compass oilseed rape did 4.5t/ha, with the farm average including Excalibur down at 3.7t/ha. “We had a 26ha field which was decimated in a hailstorm, and yielded just 2.3t/ha,” said Mr Dawson.
“We had 100mm of rain and hail in 44 minutes, and the river burst its banks – it cost us a small fortune.
“We’re on heavy clay here, and still have a 49ha field of rapeseed stubble that is too wet to do anything with.
“We’ve had to change our cultivation tactics drastically,” he added. “We decided to plough before drilling, and now the top three inches has baked hard in the dry weather, and is still soaking wet underneath.
“I’ve never known anything like it – it’s going to be a real waiting game to get the conditions right.”