Fear of fire in Berkshire

Colin Rayner said it has been the best weather ever for harvest, but they have lived in fear of fire near Windsor, Berkshire. “We fought one combine fire for two hours. It was slightly melted but we still managed to fix it. The next day we realised everyone’s legs were burnt.”

He had also suffered eleven fire arson attacks over the five farms and had expensive new road signs stolen from outside.

Mr Rayner said wheat yields had been better than the oilseed rape and barley yields. Soissons came in at 9.5t/ha with Claire at just under this. The crops were at 13.7% moisture, with protein at 13.14, Hagbergs of 363, screenings of 4% and bushel weights of 82kg/hl.

“There is good demand for straw. We sold it at £80/t but it’s not enough. We need £100/t.”

He had not done any cultivations because it was not cost effective. “The ground is too hard and the price of diesel is much too high.”

With 60ha of grain maize “looking promising”, he said his biggest struggle was with looking after five maize mazes.

“If you think farming is hard, try running a public entertainment venue. I’m glad I’m a farmer. It was a living nightmare!”

• Crop: Winter wheat
• Varieties: Soissons and Claire
• Yield: 9.5t/ha, Claire slightly lower
• Quality: 13.7% moisture, 13.14% nitrogen, Hagbergs 363, screenings 4%, bushel weight 82kg/hl

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