Battling on near Telford

Bruce Udale is busy combining today (4 September) at Eyton House Farm, Telford, Shropshire, and is very disappointed with yields.

“We’re battling on, but the wheat yields are pretty damn dreadful in Shropshire. Yields are at least 2.5t/ha down, and there’s a lot left to cut,” he said.

Oats were also down on yield, with low bushel weights to match the wheat. “Wheat specific weights are mostly at 69kg/hl, with the odd one at 72kg/hl.

“Grafton, although it didn’t look very good, weighed well; Humber and Diego have been reasonable and Duxford has probably been the worst,” said Mr Udale.

“I’m anticipating that we’ll struggle to average 7.4t/ha, when we’re normally about 9.4t/ha.

“But the bushel weights are making the combine scales go awry, and going on looks isn’t making sense this year, either,” he added.

“Six weeks ago everything looked fantastic, but disease has just taken the heads out. We’ve had bad harvests before, but I don’t think we’ve ever had one like this.”

Of the 364ha of wheat on the farm, Mr Udale still had 243ha left to cut. “Although the heads have been ripe, the straw has been green, which has held us up. But it’s all still standing.

“I cut some farm-saved seed yesterday, as I don’t know where we’re going to get seed from this year.

“At least we can cut a fair bit if we get a few dry days, and we’ve got about half our oilseed rape drilled, which is more than many other people.

“We’ve got the final field cleared for rapeseed, but it’s a bit wet at the moment. If it doesn’t come dry, we’ll have to switch it to oats.”

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