High yields of wheat, barley and oilseed rape are being reported across England with the south-eastern harvest set to be largely finished in the next two weeks if rain holds off.
Nearly half the wheat in Cambridgeshire is now cut, while trial yields of winter barley and oilseed are well above the long-term average (see box).
- Winter barley yields are 14% higher and oilseed rape 6% above long-term averages in independent trials, helped by generally good growing weather.
- Yields of winter barley reached 10.75t/ha –1.32t/ha above a five-year average – from 13 sites, according to AHDB Recommended List trials.
- Oilseed rape results from four trials in Hampshire, Norfolk, Yorkshire and Oxfordshire showed a gross output yield of 5.6t/ha, above a four-year average of 5.27 t/ha.
Very good wheat yields are being seen by Charlie Rowland at Ratfyn Farm, Salisbury, Wiltshire.
“I have cut 65ha of Dickens feed wheat, which has yielded an average of 13.5t/ha, with the best coming in at 14.2t/ha. I have put an order in for seed so I can grow it for next year,” he says.
Glacier winter barley had also done very well, yielding about 12t/ha with moisture at 16%. Charger and Cabernet oilseed rape averaged 4.6t/ha at 7-8% moisture on the farm.
“I’m very pleased so far and all the crops still in the field are looking really good, with spring barley likely to be ready next,” he says.
Oilseed rape harvest went very well for David Reed at Diamond Farm, Wirrall, Cheshire.
“A 23.5ha plot of Incentive yielded 4.9t/ha with a smaller virgin field yielding 5.8t/ha, so I am happy with that,” he says.
Mr Reed finished cutting winter barley earlier this week, with 80ha of Tower yielding 8.6t/ha.
“We are hoping to start harvesting Kabuki peas at the end of the week, and wheat next week, which is looking promising so far,” he adds.
Winter wheat had yielded well for Tom Hull at Dean Farm, Fareham, Hampshire.
“Skyfall was our top variety for both quality and yields, which were around 11t/ha,” he says.
Mr Hull was also very pleased with Panorama, which averaged 10t/ha and had good protein.
“We have also had an exceptional year for oilseed rape and are particularly pleased with Campus, which yielded 4.4t/ha and came second to one of our trial hybrid varieties,” he says.
In Bedfordshire, wheat harvest was off to a promising start for Brian Shaw at Barton Hill Farm, near Luton.
“We have cut Gallant and Kielder, averaging 11t/ha, and hope to start on Skyfall today (Tuesday), but we still have the majority of the feed wheat left to cut,” he says.
The oilseed rape crop did better than expected after damage from cabbage stem flea beetle, with Cabernet yielding the highest, while Volume winter barley did well at 11t/ha.
“I have been happy with how the harvest has gone so far and we have completed the most awkward half. As long as the weather is good we should be done in around two weeks,” says Mr Shaw.
The wheat harvest is about 40% complete in Cambridgeshire, according to Philip Darke at co-operative Camgrain.
“Wheats have run well, producing generally good quality, although there has been some big variability in protein levels. We have seen yields of around 10-12t/ha and Skyfall has delivered, which was a big question,” he says.
There are some very good spring barley yields but nitrogen levels are quite inconsistent. Oilseed rape has been variable, but now it is done and dusted.
“If the rain stays off we should be done in two weeks, but there is likely to be a shortage of storage due to carry-over stock and yields doing better than expected,” he says.