Fantastic start near Saltash

John Moss has had a fantastic start to harvest at Howton Farm, Saltash, Cornwall, and on nearby contracted farms.

“We managed to get some Maris Otter in before the rain, which yielded a good average and made the malting grade.

“But after the rain the oilseed rape and winter barley has all come at once.”

He had had a good run on oilseed rape, cutting about 283ha (700 acres) over the past week. “If you can go every day from dawn to dusk it’s surprising what you can achieve.”

And yields had been excellent, he added. “I’ve never known such good yields of rapeseed.”

Grandia had topped the list, with one spot touching 6t/ha (2.4t/acre). “That doesn’t mean it’s averaged that, because there were some poor areas. I think it will have done 4.3t/ha (1.75t/acre).”

PR46W21 had done similarly well, with Cabernet also proving pleasing at 4.3-5t/ha (1.75-2t/acre).

“The disappointing one was Sesame, which didn’t do anywhere near as well, at 3.7t/ha (1.5t/acre) on good land.

“It seemed to put all of its energy into growing; it was very tall and didn’t tiller well. We won’t be growing it again, and I’ve spoken to other people who’ve said the same.”

Winter barley had yielded better than expected, considering the dry spring, said Mr Moss. So far the 80ha (200 acres) of Cassia had come in at 6.8-7.4t/ha (2.75-3t/acre).

“But I think wheats will be disappointing; they seem quite thin, having lost a lot of tillers in the dry weather.

“I had set aside some for crimping, but I looked at it yesterday (28 July) and it’s gone too far; it’s almost ripe. I don’t think the wheats will be very far away.”

Mr Moss had had an exciting week, having just started producing electricity from a 5MW solar park on 12ha (30 acres) at Howton Farm.

“I’m hoping that’s going to produce a better return than cereals.”

Crop: Winter barley
Variety: Maris Otter
Area: 73ha (180 acres)
Yield: average

Variety: Cassia
Area: 80ha (200 acres)
Yield: 6.8-7.4t/ha (2.75-3t/acre)

Crop: Oilseed rape
Varieties: Grandia & PR46W21
Yield: 4.3t/ha (1.75t/acre)

Variety: Cabernet
Yield: 4.3-5t/ha (1.75-2t/acre)

Variety: Sesame
Yield: 3.7t/ha (1.5t/acre)

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