Oilseed rape yields have been the worst ever at Priors Farm, Newbury, Berkshire, and wheat is not proving much better either.

“The rape looked really good, but there was just nothing in it,” said Richard Brown. “The seeds were terribly small and it’s the worst crop we’ve ever grown at under 2.5t/ha.”

Wheat had done reasonably well on sandy soil, at up to 8.6t/ha, but on the heavier land only produced 5t/ha.

“As we were driving along in the combine the yield meter just went straight up as soon as we hit the sandy parts of the field,” said Mr Brown.

Alchemy did reasonably well as a first wheat, but was mediocre grown after oats. “We also had Santiago and Diego, and neither was very good.

“But it’s not really about the variety, it’s where in the rotation it was and what soil type it was on – like a lot of people we’ve had very poor blackgrass control this year.”

A damp day yesterday (20 August) meant the combine was parked up for the day, leaving Mr Brown with about a third of his wheat left to cut.

“We will start combining at Sheepdrove today, and will probably do a week there before coming back to start on the spring barley at home.”


Crop: Winter wheat
Varieties: Alchemy, Diego and Santiago
Yield: 5-8.6t/ha


Crop: Oilseed rape
Variety: Sesame
Yield: <2.5t/ha