The region's farmers are nearing the end of a frustrating, expensive and rain-affected harvest - but Suffolk's agricultural leader says there are reasons to be cheerful.

Andrew Blenkiron is director of the Euston Estate, on the Norfolk/Suffolk border near Thetford, and also the Suffolk chairman for the National Farmers' Union (NFU).

His farm completed its cereals harvest on August 12 - much later than last year, when the dry heat sparked a rapid gathering of grains.

And he expects most cereal growers across Suffolk will finish their harvest by the end of August.

Eastern Daily Press: Andrew Blenkiron, director of the Euston Estate near ThetfordAndrew Blenkiron, director of the Euston Estate near Thetford (Image: Newsquest)

This year's rain delays have been a constant frustration, as well as the extra cost of drying grain to keep it within moisture specifications, on top of high fertiliser and fuel prices.

Nevertheless, cereal yields have been around average, he said, while the wet summer has created perfect growing conditions for later-harvested sugar beet and maize, and reduced the need for costly irrigation of potatoes, carrots and onions.

"Across the county, people are reporting pretty average yields, if not slightly better than average," he said.

"I would suggest we have gone back to a more normal, average year - if there is such a thing as a normal year. 

"But with the cost of growing it, and the extra drying charges, it was an expensive crop to grow to get an average yield. 

"Having said that, anybody who has got spring-planted maize and sugar beet, they are looking tremendous, better than they have for the last four or five years.

"The rain has kept them growing so well. There will be some big sugar beet crops processed this year. 

"The other positive is, with the high electricity costs, we have not had to pump so much water around for our irrigated potatoes, carrots and onions. Our water use has been half of what it was last year."

Mr Blenkiron's top performing crops included winter barley, harvested in dry conditions before the rain, which yielded 10% above average.

But the farm's milling wheat incurred some expensive drying charges after being harvested with a moisture level of 19-20%.