On his 880 ha (2200 acres) farm he grows 112 ha (276 acres) of barley, 80 ha (200 acres) of which has already been harvested since he started on July 5.

“This is the best barley crop I‘ve ever had!” said Mr Smith.

Mr Smith‘s farm lies on gravel, allowing water to drain quickly and for harvest to get underway early.

Although Mr Smith even admits that “this is a surprisingly early start for me”

He is growing 6 row Siberia barley which is achieving 64-66 specific weight and an “astonishing” 9.3t/ha (3.70 t/acre) yield.

Also he is growing 2 row Carat barley with a 71-74 specific weight and managing 8.8 t/ha (3.56 t/acre) yield.

Mr Smith was jubilant to say “we were lucky to catch the early markets when no other farmer could harvest, allowing us to get favorable prices”.

When he started harvesting the barley on the July 5, it was coming in at 18% moisture content, but as he moved further into the month Mr Smith’s barley crop has dropped to a 15% moisture level.

Mr Smith also grows oilseed rape and winter wheat on his farm near Newbury.