Pleasant surprise at Mowness Hall

James Forrest finished harvest at Mowness Hall, Little Stonham, Suffolk, on Sunday (9 September), and is pleasantly surprised by average yields.

“It’s been a mixed bag – we’d set our sights on a fairly ordinary, wet harvest,” he said.

“But we didn’t have as much rain in August as I’d anticipated, and yields were better than expected, given the weather conditions.”

Winter wheat yielded about average, said Mr Forrest. “Santiago was head and shoulders above the rest. Oakley held its own, and Viscount was consistently good as a first or second wheat.”

Although yields had been reasonable, the costs of achieving them were not. “We piled fungicide on like it was going out of fashion, which has probably paid off.

“But the downside of that is that the straw was very green, so combine throughput was about 20% down.

“I think that’s something that manufacturers need to consider – only in the last crop on Sunday did we get going as we should have done,” added Mr Forrest.

“And we’ve had to dry 70% of what we’ve cut – I’m losing interest in filling up the diesel tank every week.”

Although he didn’t have any spring barley of his own, crops he had cut for other people had performed well.

“Winter barley and oilseed rape were pretty respectable, too. But I think the surprise of the year was Mulika spring wheat, which we drilled at the end of November.

“It gave us a 30% yield increase by being drilled in November instead of in March, so we were very pleased with that.”

Mr Forrest had managed to finish drilling oilseed rape on Sunday, and was now cultivating ahead of autumn sowing.

“We’re not in a bad position, which is fortunate, as I know a lot of people have really struggled with the weather and poor yields this year.”

See more