Harvest has been a dismal affair for John Jeffrey, with yields universally about 2.5t/ha below last year at Kersknowe Farm, Kelso, in the Scottish borders.
“It’s pretty dreadful,” he said. “Our high erucic rape only managed 2.7t/ha – 1.7t/ha below last year.
“And Belgravia spring barley yielded just 3.5t/ha. There was one field that brought the overall average down, but it never looked good after the cold, wet spring.”
Winter barley did slightly better, at 6.2t/ha, with Pearl making the malting grade and Cassata grown for feed.
“Our winter wheat had looked good, but it’s only done about 6.4-6.7t/ha,” said Mr Jeffrey. “Claire looked the best to combine, and we also had Viscount and Gallant.
“Bushel weights have been poor, and we’ve still got Beluga to cut,” he added.
“Surprisingly, it’s coming off fairly dry, at 17-18% moisture, but we’re having to leave bits in fields where the ground is too saturated to travel on.”
With a mixture of sunshine and showers this week, Mr Jeffrey hoped to finish up the final 32ha of wheat. “But it’s weather-dependent. At least it’s still standing and hasn’t sprouted yet.”
Fortunately, he had managed to drill most of his oilseed rape. “I didn’t get it all rolled, because it rained, so I’m 8ha short of my target, and I’ve had to chop and change fields a bit to get it in.”