Much has been written about the difficulties of the 2020 harvest and no doubt more will be penned going forward as the reality of the yields and costs hit profit and loss accounts in the next 12 months.
Cereal crop output is significantly below the company average both in terms of area planted and ultimate crop yield. Around 20% of the winter wheat area was planted in the Autumn of 2019 with the remaining area either planted in the spring or switched to alternative crops. Much has been learned about what works and what doesn’t and the farming team are embracing and implementing change to increase operational resilience.
Lincolnshire cereals were most affected by weather, particularly wet planting conditions. Gloucestershire was more impacted by summer drought as you would expect from a brash soil type. The Oxfordshire farms have performed well with 100% of the intended area planted and a reasonable crop yield.
Spring barley results across the company are good with most crops producing malting quality. Some “Cinderella crops” planted late on heavy land elevated themselves to harvestable crops whereas they were originally intended as cover crop. Applications of digestate improved performance of crops. Cereals as a whole, when taking account of improved prices and savings in direct costs are close to budget.
OSR performance is poor despite the best efforts of the management team who have looked at all areas to mitigate the impact of cabbage stem flea beetle. BDFL are not growing the crop in the current season, however Green Crop Information are looking closely at this issue to try and determine what can be done to grow the crop reliably in the future.
Vining peas have been the worst affected crop with total revenue 35% below budget. Planting conditions for the crop were good but high temperatures hampered crop growth across all soil types and yields were very disappointing.
Energy and forage crop yields are a mixed bag with maize performing close to budget, with a large range of yields, whereas rye and barley yields are poor
Potato crops have performed well with good yield and quality.