“It is not a good year for spring barley,” said Yorkshire farmer Derek Lamplough. Sixty hectares of Cocktail yielded “pretty poorly” at Manor Farm, and the crops were “very short”.

“I hope it will be good enough quality to meet malting spec and that we can get a premium for it.”

He was disappointed at having started cutting spring barley at 7pm last night (August 8), only to be rained off by 8pm. “Moisture was below 15% so it would have been nice to have got some more off. The clouds just weren’t on our side.”

He started cutting Nijinsky winter wheat yesterday and said yields were looking very good. “It’s the first time I’ve grown the variety. It’s just about ready now but I’m very satisfied.”

Mr Lamplough would usually expect to start cutting winter wheat from mid- August, so he said he was a week to 10 days ahead. “It’s the earliest I can ever remember combining wheat. 1976 is the only other year I can think it may have been this early.”

However, he did not think the wheat had been affected by the early harvest. “We’re not far off the east coast so it is not as hot as inland. From my experience with the wheat yesterday, I don’t think quality will be down at all.”