Harvest is well ahead of normal, with about 20% of the crop area now cleared compared to 10% in a typical year.

According to the latest HGCA / ADAS harvest report, farmers cut almost 500,000ha between 23 and 29 July, aided by the fine, dry weather.

“Winter cereals are in line with other early harvests, but winter oilseed rape is the earliest in recent years,” said the report.

With about 5% of the winter wheat in the barn, early indications of yields were close to or above the farm average, although that ranged from 4.5t/ha on light land to 12t/ha on heavier soil.

“First indications are that specific weights are average, Hagberg Falling Numbers are good, but protein contents are low.”

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Winter barley was nearing completion in the South, with 85% cut nationally, said the report.

“To date reported yields have averaged 10-15% higher than the farm average, giving an estimated national average yield of 7.2-7.4t/ha.”

Quality was extremely variable, and although malting quality was generally acceptable, some specific weights were low and screenings often higher than ideal.

With 2% of the spring barley crop now harvested, yields were looking promising, and were likely to be close to the national average of 5.4t/ha, said the report.

Oat yields were also around average, with about 5% now in the barn.

Farmers had made rapid progress with cutting oilseed rape, with 75% now cleared compared to 30% in a normal year, it added.

“Yields are highly variable, ranging from 1.9-5.5t/ha, but are typically above the farm average, leading to a national estimated yield average of 3.4-3.6t/ha.”

Oil contents ranged from 42-46%, with moisture contents at 5-12%. “Low moisture has caused a problem for harvesting, with some growers having to stop harvesting during the heat of the day because moisture contents were too low.”