There’s no rush to finish harvest with such an early start for Richard Kendall, farming 1,500 acres near Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, with his brother, NFU president, Peter.

 

“We’ve done about 120ha (300ac) of Xi19 second wheat and the early signs are promising – I’m very encouraged baring in mind the lack of rain. Moistures have been right the way from 13% to 17%. As it’s so early, we’ve tried not to cut anything above 17%.”

 

Mr Kendall said he was rained off last night, but was about to start again this morning (10.30am).

 

Last week a deluge of rain and hail had damaged a number of neighbouring crops, Mr Kendall added.

 

“On Wednesday we had hail through here and we got some splattering of grains on the floor and one of my neighbour near Bassingbourn where they had 40mm in 20 minutes reckons he’s lost between four and five hundred-weight per acre of wheat. Another neighbour thinks he’s lost a third of his pea crop.”

 

All the 325ha (800ac) of oilseed rape on the farm – and contract cut – is in. “Astrid did best but most crops did marginally better than 27 hundred-weight. The poorer yields came from land that hadn’t been deep cultivated for a number of years.”

 

Moistures, Mr Kendall said, were really too dry. “We’re going to try and get the moisture over 6% – some of it is below – as I don’t want any rejections or to lose premiums.”

 

Crop: OSR

Variety: Astrid

Yield: >2.7t/ha (average)

Area: 81ha

Quality: Around 6% moisture

 

Crop: OSR

Variety: Winner

Yield: 2.7t/ha (average)

Area: 120ha

Quality: Around 6% moisture

 

Crop: Wheat

Variety: Xi19

Yield: Very promising

Area: 120ha

Quality: 13-17% moisture