© Andrew Meredith© Andrew Meredith

Cereal harvesting is progressing well in the west with one seed grower near Newport, Shropshire, seeing promising initial results in spite of a challenging harvest period.

John Belcher, of PM & RE Belcher and Son, says his farm has seen 40mm of rain since the beginning of August on land that runs from sandstone through to heavy clay and peat.

He has seen cereal yields that are within the five-year average, with winter wheat yields of 7.5-11.2t/ha, winter barley 7.5t/ha and spring barley 6.8t/ha and one of the best samples of barley for many years.

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The farm, which also grows oilseed rape, beans, maize and carrots, utilises a diverse rotation to provide plenty of first cereal slots to grow seed crops for local merchant Wynnstay.

A significant proportion of the cropping area is turned over to seed production, with Siskin and Diego winter wheat being grown, alongside Cassia winter barley and Propino spring barley.

Although there are producers in the area that grow milling wheat, Mr Belcher favours seed production, because more of the factors that determine whether he gets the premium, particularly cleanliness, are under his control.