Rained off again near Telford

Duncan Whiteman is extremely frustrated with the showers at Arlescott Farm, Telford, Shropshire, having just started combining winter wheat.

“We’ve cut some Santiago, which was extremely good, yielding over 9.9t/ha as a first wheat after oilseed rape,” he said.

“It was 16% moisture today (19 August) and we were just driving down the road to make a start when there was another storm. It’s been so bad I’ve even had time to do my VAT return.”

Mascani winter oats had also yielded exceptionally well, at 9.3t/ha, with a bushel weight of 52kg/hl. “We sold them on contract at £120/t so we’re happy with that,” said Mr Whiteman.

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

But Retriever winter barley was disappointing, at just 6.8t/ha. “I don’t quite know why – it wasn’t a bad sample, and it looked okay, it just didn’t yield.”

PR46W21 oilseed rape was about average, at 3.7t/ha. “It would be nice if the prices went up – we’re working for nothing which is very disappointing when the weather is like this.”

Although many farmers were cutting wheat at high moisture contents in the area, Mr Whiteman was trying to hold off to minimise drying costs.

“It’s still early, and a nice dry week and we’d be finished – but it doesn’t look like we’re going to get one until after the new moon, which is at least a week away.”

With straw prices on the floor, Mr Whiteman planned to chop and incorporate the rest of his straw. “It’s one less thing to worry about, too,” he said.

“I’m trying to be patient – mycotoxin levels will start to rise after this week, but with the amount of fungicides we’ve put on the wheat is hanging on well.”

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