Peter Wombwell finished harvest at Rectory Farm, Ickleton, Cambridgeshire, last night (4 September), and is about to head off contract combining for neighbours.
“It’s been a pretty boring and disappointing harvest. There was lots of green straw and ripe heads, so it was a tough haul, with slow combining and lots of diesel burnt.
“I don’t want to see another harvest like this in my lifetime.”
However, he saved the best until last, with 2ha of Wizard beans. “We had a bit of failed oilseed rape which we didn’t know what to do with, so we drilled some leftover beans very late on light land, and they were fantastic.
“We got 17t off the field, compared to 62t off 23.5ha at the other farm. It was just astonishing.”
All other crop yields were disappointing, with rapeseed averaging 3.3t/ha, said Mr Wombwell. “There was a great cliff of biomass and plenty of seed, but it was just very small.”
Maple peas averaged 3.2t/ha, and wheat struggled to do 7.4t/ha.
“The stronger the land the worse the yields, and it looks like bushel weights are well down, which is going to lead to some very interesting conversations about what it’s worth,” he added.
“There’s no point loading a lorry on a 72kg/hl specification, when there’s no way it’s going to reach that. I’m tempted to negotiate with the merchants first.
“I don’t know anyone who’s going to achieve these high wheat prices, because of all the penalties on bushel weight.
“I’ve heard of one farmer who’s had deductions of £35/t, on wheat that was sold forward at £150/t, so he’s not terribly happy.”
Conqueror on heavy ground yielded 6.9t/ha as a first wheat, with Sterling at 6.7t/ha. But on light land, Relay did 7.4t/ha as a first wheat, with Warrior matching that as a second wheat.
Top of the list was Torch, which averaged 11t/ha, having been late drilled on light land after potatoes. “Unfortunately, I didn’t have very much of it.”
Crop: Winter wheat
Crop: Winter beans