Harvest 09: Waiting for wheat in Surrey

Roger and Peter Colebrook are waiting for the rest of their crops to ripen at Whitehall Farm, Reigate, Surrey.

“A lot of the spring corn has not been ready, so we’ve had a bit of a gap,” said Roger.

He hoped to be into the 57ha (140 acres) of Solstice, drilled in the spring, over the weekend. “It’s been a strange season because things haven’t wanted to ripen.

“The humidity has been so high over the past few weeks that we had four dry days and still the crops didn’t dry.”

On the whole, yields had been better than expected, with the spring crops proving exceptional, he said.

“The quality so far has been excellent, but I can’t boast massive yields. We’ve had some very good and some very poor. The only problem is that everything is worthless.”

Oilseed rape, which had cost £270/t to grow, was worth just £220/t; spring barley cost £100/t and was worth £70/t, and milling wheat cost £120/t for a value of £110/t.

“There are no buyers – we can’t even sell anything.”

As well as the spring wheat, Roger and Peter had 8ha (20 acres) of late spring oats and 2ha (5 acres) of spring barley to finish off.

Although many people were still waiting for crops to ripen in the area, Roger reckoned most would be finished by the end of next week (5 September).


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Duxford winter wheat is an HGCA Recommended List 2009/10 variety with very high UK treated yields and a maximum 9 rating for resistance to lodging with and without PGR. Combined with the highest second wheat yield and a balanced disease resistance profile, Duxford will continue to help UK growers meet the challenge of producing more grain profitably.

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