The combine is rolling through winter wheat at John Beslee’s Hook Green Farm, Southfleet, Kent, and yields are proving disappointing.

“It is not very good at all – we had a really dry time after a very cold winter, and our crops are going to be a lot lighter this year.”

So far he had cut 24ha (60 acres) of Cordiale. “Yields are probably 6.2-7.4t/ha (2.5-3t/acre) – certainly not more than 3t/acre.

“The sample isn’t very bold – the grain hasn’t filled out properly. I think that’s where the yield loss is from.”

Splendor oilseed rape, started about a week ago, had yielded between 2.7t/ha and 3.7t/ha (1.1-1.5t/acre).

“The lighter fields were ruined by pigeons – they grazed the crops right down.”

Mr Beslee now had 117ha (290 acres) of wheat to cut, along with 40ha (100 acres) of Tipple spring barley.

“The barley looks good – it tends to go behind our vegetable crops and does well on this farm – we haven’t had less than 7.4t/ha (3t/acre) in the past two or three years.

“It will be ready in a week.”

Crop: Winter wheat
Variety: Cordiale
Area: 24ha (60 acres)
Yield: 6.2-7.4t/ha (2.5-3t/acre)

Crop: Oilseed rape
Variety: Splendor
Area: 32ha (80 acres)
Yield: 2.7-3.7t/ha (1.1-1.5t/acre)