Harvest at East Lenham Farm, near Maidstone in Kent, has so far given Barometer farmer Andy Barr a record barley yield, better than expected oilseed rape and encouraging oats.

The winter barley varieties, combined either side of the rape at 14-16% moisture, were Suzuka and hybrid Boost.

Delivered weights to Weald Granary recorded the Suzuka at 9.6t/ha (3.9t/acre) with a specific weight of 66-68kg/hl, said Mr Barr.

“That’s unheard of as a second cereal on our sand – I’ve had to check the figures over and over again. We aim for about 8.5t/ha.”

Boost’s overall performance was let down by a “very poor 6.4t/ha” off a particularly wet field. “Fortunately, the other field did a very nice 8.9 t/ha, although the specific weight was quite low at 59kg/hl.”

Andy Barr

After a record winter barley yield Andy Barr’s oats also seem promising

Excalibur and Castille oilseed rape averaged 3.9t/ha (1.6t/acre) into the co-op store. “That’s about our five-year average, and if I’d known last autumn that it would yield that a lot more of my hair might have survived the winter,” he said.

“It suffered delayed germination due to lack of rain on thin soil, and half of it didn’t appear until mid-October, when we did some patch drilling. Every time I went to look it had improved and so had the rape price. So we fought to keep it with many applications of slug pellets and foliar phosphate and zinc.

“We continued the Soil Solutions nutrition programme into spring, and by flowering had a reasonable canopy despite the most intense battle with pigeons I’ve ever had.”

“By harvest, in the previously thinner patches, I could find plants 2m wide with 40 branches at knee height. It was quite incredible.

“If I was greedy I would say it was a shame it was so dry, averaging 6.8%, but oils were a pleasing 44-45%, the hybrid Excalibur faring much better than the Castille.”

Combining continued, in Dalguise and Kinross oats, but stopped on 27 July as first the supply of ripe crops dried up and then wet weather thwarted progress. “We could harvest oats and wheat now,” Mr Barr said on Tuesday. “But it’s too wet.”

Unsurprisingly, oats output from two fields fresh out of long-term set-aside, Swamp and Borrow Pit, broke no records.