Rain has brought combines to a halt in the South again today (23 August), but wheat and spring barley quality is holding up well.


“It’s just stop-start all the time,” said Nick Matthews, trading director at Wessex Grain. “Harvest is really becoming a bit of a chore.”

He reckoned farmers in central Southern England still had about 40% of wheat to cut, and around 10% of spring barley.

“A lot of it was only just fit before the rain, so quality hasn’t been affected. It doesn’t want a lot more on it, but Hagergs are still robust.

“However, there’s an awful lot of wet grain around; it’s going to take a long time to dry, so trade is very slow.”

Solstice had higher protein levels than Gallant, but all varieties had performed well, said Mr Matthews. “There’s no issue with quality yet.”

Yields had been better than expected, and would be on par with the five-year average, he said.

Spring barley yields varied from under 5t/ha (2t/acre) to over 7.4t/ha (3t/acre). “It’s nothing like as bad as in the Eastern counties.”

Nitrogen contents were also better, at about 1.8%. “We’ve got a good, solid crop of spring barley in the South.”

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