Winter barley harvest is about 50% complete in Hampshire, with oilseed rape around a quarter of the way through, according to Mike Clay, manager of Hampshire Grain.

“Harvest is earlier than normal around here – we wouldn’t normally have taken that much in,” he said.

“Unfortunately most of our members are speaking of disappointing rape yields, at 3t/ha – but oil contents and admixture levels are fine.”

Winter barley yields were proving very variable, but were probably averaging between 6.2t and 7.4t/ha, added Mr Clay. “That’s slightly below where people would like to be.”

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Screenings were higher than normal, at 8-10% through a 2.25mm sieve, but most farmers were growing feed varieties and all loads could be cleaned, he said.

But bushel weights were on the low side, ranging from mid 50s to high 60s kg/hl. “Normally you’d expect high 60s to low 70s kg/hl.”

Fortunately, everything had been coming in fairly dry, which would keep drying costs to a minimum, he added.

“Oilseed rape had ranged from 6.5% to 14%, and averaged 8.5-9%, while winter barley has been at 13-16%.”

No spring barley had yet been cut in the area, but one farmer had started on his wheat, said Mr Clay.

“Luckily, Hampshire missed the worst of the weekend storms. We’re getting reports that one or two farmers will be into Gallant milling wheat by the end of the week.”