Soil dictates yields near Haverfordwest

Oilseed rape has yielded slightly below the five-year average at Trenewydd Fawr, Haverfordwest, Dyfed, where Meurig Raymond is just starting to cut winter barley.

So far he had cut 80ha of oilseed rape, which ranged from 3t/ha on light soils so 5t/ha on deeper soils. “We grew mostly hybrids, but the issue is soil type, not variety,” he said.

He had another 80ha of rapeseed left to cut, but as it wasn’t yet fit, he was now moving into 40ha of late-drilled winter barley. “We’ve got another 40ha of spring barley which is nearly ready, too.”

Of the 283ha of winter wheat, 100ha had been sold at the end of February, said Mr Raymond.

“It’s still green – it was looking quite drought stressed, so the rain arrived just in time. But it’s clean and promising.”

Most farmers in the area had finished combining winter barley, with yields just above average at around 7.5t/ha, he added.

“They’re moving into oilseed rape, and some wheat and spring barley will be ready soon.”

Having cut 10% of the farm’s acreage, Mr Raymond’s harvest was still well behind a normal year.

“We’re also lifting potatoes at the moment – yields are down as it’s been so dry,” he said. “We’ve used about 10m gallons of water for irrigating, and quality is good – but unfortunately the prices are very unexciting.”

Further north, at Presteigne, Powys, David Price was yet to start harvest, having rented out the farm this year.

“All the wheat was planted very late, so it will another three or four weeks yet,” he said. “But it’s looking surprisingly good, all things considered.”

Crop: Oilseed rape
Varieties: Mixed
Area: 80ha
Yield: 3-5t/ha

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