Harvest has finally finished at Priors Farm, Newbury, Berkshire, and it hasn’t been as bad as Richard Brown had expected.
“We finished contract combining at Sheepdrove, Lambourn, on Saturday and finished our own harvest yesterday (7 August),” he said. “And we’ve just cut a bit of rye regrowth for a neighbour before we put the combine away.”
This year the family partnership had cut more than 668ha, with Mr Brown doing 628ha of that himself. “That’s not bad for a geriatric. It hasn’t been a particularly special harvest, but it hasn’t been a disaster either.”
Tipple spring barley was the most disappointing crop, with extremely high screenings making it unviable as a malting sample, said Mr Brown.
“But Propino was miles better than I’d thought – it probably yielded 6.8t/ha and made the malting grade at £176/t.”
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Wheat also wasn’t as bad as expected, with first wheat Leeds producing 8.6t/ha. “But we had a lot of second wheats as our oilseed rape failed the previous year, so with Santiago we’ll have averaged just under 7.4t/ha.”
Mascani winter oats were extremely good, having comfortably yielded 7.9t/ha. “And we’re just waiting for the Fuego and Fanfare spring beans to go – I think they’ve easily cleared 5t/ha, which is great, especially as they’re such a cheap crop to grow,” he added.
Mr Brown’s sons George (pictured) and Tom had now finished baling and were busy cultivating ready for next year’s crops. “Most people are finishing up around here. As a rule, oilseed rape has done really badly – the only good crop I’ve heard of was on virgin ground.
“Spring barley has generally been indifferent and wheat has been pretty good. Thankfully, we sold quite a lot forward which will make up for the modest yields.”