The sun is shining at Merton Estates, St Boswells, Kelso, but Charlie Stewart still has an awful lot to cut.

“We are between a quarter and a third of the way through our wheat, and yields are abysmal,” he said.

“We’ve cut 200ha of Gallant so far and it’s not making milling quality, with a bushel weight of about 70kg/hl.

“It’s only yielding 5-6.2t/ha, so we won’t be growing it again next year – the premiums just aren’t high enough to cover that kind of yield penalty.”

Mr Stewart hoped to get some better results when he moved into feed wheat tomorrow. “We’re not getting on too badly.

“Ground conditions aren’t good – we’ve got wide wheels on the trailers and are sticking to headlands and tramlines. All the combines are on tracks, and quite honestly we couldn’t manage without them.”

Fortunately, he had managed to sow about 324ha of oilseed rape, and should finish drilling that in the next day or so. “The slugs are having a field day,” he said.

“We grew Cracker and a bit of Expower this year – the Expower was too tall and difficult to cut, so we’ll stick with Cracker for next year.”

Yields were below average, at 3t/ha. Oats were also below average, at 5.7-5.9t/ha, although they had produced a nice sample, added Mr Stewart.

“We’re probably 10-15% down across the board compared to our 10-year average, but it’s not a disaster because prices are pretty good.”

Sequel performed the best of the winter barleys, with Cassata, Volume and Element contributing to a farm average of 6.8t/ha.

“Unfortunately we’ve had to sacrifice the straw and chop it all, because wet straw isn’t helpful on the fields and we’re trying to get the next crop into the ground.”


Crop: Winter wheat
Variety: Gallant
Area: 200ha
Yield: 5-6.2t/ha


Crop: Oilseed rape
Varieties: Cracker and Expower
Area: 400ha
Yield: 3t/ha


Crop: Winter barley
Varieties: Sequel, Cassata, Volume and Element
Yield: 6.8t/ha