Juggling potato and wheat harvest near Bridgnorth

Andrew Digwood has finished combining oilseed rape at Willow Paddocks Farm, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, and started winter wheat yesterday (30 July).

“We had PT211 and PR46W21 and it’s averaged 4t/ha, which is a little disappointing,” he said. “It looked so well I thought it should have made 4.9t/ha.”

The Claire winter wheat on light land didn’t look too bad, he added. “We haven’t added up the yields yet, but I’m guessing it’s done about 8.6t/ha.”

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Crop facts

  • Crop: Oilseed rape
  • Varieties: PR46W21 and PT211
  • Area: 69ha
  • Yield: 4t/ha

Mr Digwood was busy lifting potatoes today, but could cut more wheat this evening. “We’ll have a look round to see if we find another field that’s fit.”

The potatoes had been a mixed success, with 32ha now out of the ground. “We’re getting on quite well – we started with a field of Premier that yielded 45t/ha,” said Mr Digwood.

“That was from some Dutch seed and we were very pleased with that. But then we moved onto some Scottish seed, which was horrendous. It was absolutely full of blackleg – the worst we’ve ever had, which has nobbled the yield.”

Most of the potatoes were on contract to McCains, but some of the Premier was also for the open market, he added. “The prices are just awful, so the combination of blackleg and free-buy prices makes it even worse.”

Fortunately, Mr Digwood had now moved on to Amora. “It’s looking very good, particularly considering it was unirrigated,” he said. “It’s a nice sample, so it’s a lot more of a pleasure to lift.”