Lionel Wells has had a frustrating year at Leadenporch Farm, Banbury, Oxfordshire, with blackgrass and rain early in the year having a significant impact.  

“The oilseed rape just didn’t reach the heights we had anticipated in June,” he said.

Quartz and Cabernet reached just over 3.7t/ha, with Trinity the most disappointing at below 3.7t/ha.

“Blackgrass caused a real problem in the Trinity and everything came in below average.”

Scout and Cocoon winter wheat both achieved poor yields, with Scout averaging 7.4t/ha and Cocoon averaging 6.7t/ha.

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“We didn’t get the Scout into the ground until December and Cocoon was washed away in a very heavy clay field,” Mr Wells said.

“We patched up what we could with spring wheat to help things along, but the rain early in the year along with blackgrass caused huge problems.”

Invicta winter wheat did slightly better on the lighter land, yielding 8t/ha. “It’s been a remarkable difference between the heavy and light land,” he added.

On the brighter side, winter beans had been very pleasing at over 4.9t/ha, considering they hadn’t been put in the ground until December.

Mr Wells was now busy preparing the ground for next year’s winter wheat. “We’re hoping to begin drilling in the first week of October,” he said.

“We’ve been going over everything, letting it come through and then going over again to get the blackgrass out of the way as part of our long-term strategy.

“It’s an ever-growing problem which is proving to be quite a challenge.”