Tony Higgins has finished harvest at Middlegate Farm, Pitney, Somerset, and is very disappointed with his yields.
“We managed to get most of the winter wheat drilled in the autumn, but it suffered from the continuous wet weather, and then the hot June hit crops exceptionally hard on our stoney brash soils,” he said.
Claire, Diego and Santiago wheat averaged about 6.8t/ha, with spring-drilled winter wheat yielding 5.6t/ha. “It actually paid better than the winter-sown crops as the spray bills were less.”
Wheat grown on stronger ground at a nearby contracted farm averaged a much better 7.4t/ha, with spring barley averaging 6.8t/ha compared to 5.2t/ha on the brash, said Mr Higgins.
Winter barley did slightly better, at 7.4t/ha. And oilseed rape, direct drilled into stubble, yielded 4.3t/ha, while the conventionally sown rape averaged just 2.5t/ha. “The cheapest option paid the best.”
Fuego spring beans also yielded just 2.5t/ha, but did make the human consumption grade, he added. “We sold them forward and got a £20/t premium, so that’s helped a bit.”
Although most farmers had finished combining in the area, some had little bits of linseed and spring wheat left to cut.
“We did 1000ha of combining, and finished on 6 September, just before the weather broke, which was good timing. The combine’s put away now, and we’re all ready to start drilling wheat.”
Crop: Winter wheat
Varieties: Claire, Diego and Santiago