Winter wheat© Tim Scrivener

Winter barley and oilseed rape yields were well down on the average of the past five years, while winter wheat and spring barley crops faired better, according to the final estimate of 2016 harvest yields by crop consultant Adas.

Yields of winter barley were 11-17% lower and oilseed rape down 10-13%, while winter wheat and spring barley largely matched five-year average yields.

See also: UK wheat harvest down 12%, barley off 10%, Defra estimates

The lack of sunshine in June has been widely blamed for poor yields in early maturing crops, alongside high December rainfall, the mild winter and high pest and disease pressures.

As the weather improved in July and August with good sunshine, yields rose in later-maturing crops. Harvest progressed rapidly, peaking between 9-16 August when 930,000ha of ground was cleared.

Adas also found:

  • Oilseed rape yields averaged 3.0-3.2t/ha compared with a five-year average of 3.6 t/ha (11-17% decrease). In spite of variable seed sizes, quality has been generally good with an average oil content of 43%.
  • Winter barley yields averaged 5.9-6.1t/ha compared with a five-year average of 6.8t/ha (10-13% decrease). Quality was acceptable at an average specific weight of 63.1kg/hl.
  • Winter wheat yields averaged 7.9-8.1t/ha, very similar to the five-year average of 7.9t/ha. The quality was well above average, with a protein level of 12.6% being the highest for 10 years.
  • Spring barley yields averaged 5.6-5.8t/ha, which was again similar to the five-year average of 5.7t/ha with a good average specific weight of 64.4kg/hl and nitrogen content of 1.61%.
  • Oat yields of 5.4-5.6t/ha showed a slight decline compared with the five-year average of 5.7t/ha (2-5% decrease). Quality was again good with the average specific weight of spring and winter oats at 54kg/hl.