Yorkshire farmer Andrew Middlewood started cutting Pearl winter barley yesterday (June 13) in Malton. He said this was earlier than usual but the crop had died off having had no rain since May.

“The land is very light sand and so the crop is not exceptionally good.”

Having cut 12ha of 48ha, he was not sure whether the quality would be good enough to meet malting contract spec. “It usually makes malting but the ground is too thin for it to be good in this heat.”

He expected oilseed rape to be ready in ten days, and he said it did not look as bad as the wheat. “This is the first time we’ve grown Castille so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”

Harvest for Mr Middlewood is a week ahead of last year but the drought had affected yields.