Just spring wheat left to cut near Colchester

Stacy Andrews has all but finished harvest at Maydays Farm, Colchester, Essex, and has enjoyed some of his best yields ever.

“We started cutting oilseed rape on 10 July, which is our earliest ever, and have just got 4ha of spring wheat left to cut,” he said. “We have finished earlier than this once – but we had 243ha less ground back then.”

Growing all first wheats in rotation with peas, oilseed rape and winter oats, Mr Andrews was delighted with some of the best average yields he’d ever had.

“Santiago yielded up to 12.6t/ha, and averaged 11.5t/ha – which is fantastic,” he said. “Diego averaged 11.3t/ha and Gallant did 10t/ha.”

Although Mr Andrews was initially disappointed with the Gallant’s protein content of 12-12.5%, he soon realised that it was higher than many other group one varieties this year.

“We cut it quite early and merchants weren’t all that keen – now suddenly they’re offering a £30 premium for anything over 12%.”

See also: 10 ways to stay legal on the roads this harvest.

High erucic oilseed rape yielded slightly below average, at 3.7t/ha. “That wasn’t too bad across three farms, especially as one was particularly poor,” said Mr Andrews.

Sakura marrowfat peas were also slightly disappointing, at 3.9t/ha. “We’d normally hope to get 5t/ha, and it’s not as nice a sample as we have had in the past – but they have made the grade for export to China.”

In contrast, mascani winter oats were extremely good, yielding a record average of 9.27t/ha. “We had some fields reaching 10.5t/ha – and the bushel weight was fantastic at 55kg/hl, compared to 45-50kg/hl in a normal year.”

Mr Andrews attributed the excellent oat yields to having plenty of rain and just enough fertiliser. “We’re quite dry here, so often the bushel weights struggle, but it was just the right growing season for them.”