So far so good given the dry conditions.

That’s the harvest verdict from Alastair Home-Roberts in Shropshire who began cutting wheat yesterday at Berwick Grove, Uffington after gathering 51 ha (125 acres) of desiccated oilseed rape for himself and his nearby cousin in a week.

“With all the heat I wonder in the end whether it was worth desiccating as it went off so fast.”

Castille, which had a fair amount of chicken muck, and Lioness drilled about a week later both yielded 4.2t/ha (1.7t/acre) at 7-7.5% moisture.

“That’s fairly average for us. I had hoped at one stage that it might have done 2t/acre.”

He admitted he had to grit his teeth when the sample coming off his John Deere 9640 combine fell to 4% moisture at times.

“We worked early morning, but had to stop mid-day and start again later which was a bit hard with all the thunderstorms forecast.”

Fortunately the rain held off and he moved into 16.6ha (41 acres) of Claire wheat which delivered “bang on 3.5t/acre” at only 12.5% moisture with a specific weight of 77kg/hl.

“That’s a good quarter of a ton up on what we expect from our early milling wheat.”

The crop was off medium land, he noted. Just what effect the drought had had on his remaining 243ha (600 acres) remained to be seen.

“Some wheats round here have just died off on the lighter land, though first crops after potatoes have held on well.”

As usual all his wheat straw had been sold in the field – this year for £30/acre.

“We don’t normally get that much, but people round here are desperate for fodder and some have already opened first-cut silage pits.”

Crop: Oilseed rape
Varieties: Castille & Lioness
Yield: 4.2t/ha
Area: 51ha
Quality: 7-7.5% m/c

Crop: Winter wheat
Variety: Claire
Yield: 8.6t/ha
Quality: 12.5% m/c; 77kg/hl