Harvest is making steady progress in the north east of England and Scottish borders, with 65-70% of winter barley now cut.

“The weather is playing havoc,” said Gary Bright, managing director of Tynegrain. “The crops could have exceptional this year, if it hadn’t have been for all this rain.”

Saffron and Cassia winter barley had yielded reasonably well, at about 7.4t/ha, he said.

“But Volume was a very popular variety following last year’s success, and the weather hasn’t suited it whatsoever.

“I’d say 70% of the winter barley has an average bushel weight of 55-56kg/hl, and yields have ranged from 3.7-8.6t/ha, with Volume performing particularly badly.”

Overall, barley yields were probably levelling at 6.2t/ha.

Oilseed rape had come off at 2.5-3.7t/ha, he added. “But a few really unfortunate farmers lost all their rape in big hailstorms a couple of weeks ago.”

Some farmers had made a start on winter wheat between Humber and Darlington, although most of the wheat was still 10-14 days away.

“People will be cutting today (22 August) at 24-25% moisture, just to get it off the field.

“The window for planting oilseed rape is closing, and if the weather forecast is right we can soon lose remaining crops’ potential.”

Surprisingly, given the appalling winter barley quality, of the 3000t of wheat moved so far, there had been no bushel weight problems, said Mr Bright.

“Yields are ranging from 5t/ha to 9.9t/ha but we haven’t seen any light wheat yet.”