Michael Manners is making a start to oilseed rape harvest at Conicliffe Grange, Staindrop, Durham, today (25 July), and is prepared for disappointment.

“Early reports of oilseed rape yields are not very encouraging, with a lot of small seeds about,” he said.

“It’s blooming disappointing because our Marcant and Eraton high erucic rape looks so good.”

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Although Mr Manners wasn’t growing winter barley, a lot had been cut in the area, with reports of yields around 7.4t/ha, he said.

“We haven’t got any spring barley either, but the winter wheat looks quite promising. We’ve got Viscount, Santiago, Relay and Grafton, and it’s coming on well, although you can never tell until you get the combine in.”

Mr Manners’ potato crops also looked good, but were now in desperate need of some rain.

“We’ve missed all the thunderstorms here, so it’s very dry,” he said. “We won’t start lifting potatoes until 10-12 September, and they do need some rain now.”