Mr X standing in his wheat fieldMr x on his farm

Indications of oilseed rape and winter barley yields and quality are firming up as harvest progresses, with wheat harvest now also under way.

In Kent, Weald Granary took in its first loads of wheat last Friday (18 July), with Gallant coming in at 13.02% protein, 354 Hagberg, 79kghl and 2.1% screenings.

Cordiale had also been cut, at 12.56% protein, 372 Hagberg, 81kg/hl and 1.2% screenings, said managing director John Smith.

“Early mycotoxin levels are low, at zero to 100, so it’s a bright start in terms of wheat quality,” said Mr Smith. “It’s probably going to perform well.”

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However, oilseed rape yields had been rather disappointing, given how well crops looked earlier in the year, according to Owen Cligg at United Oilseeds.

“Yields are pretty variable; they’re generally disappointing in the South and improving further north,” he said.

“Overall, they’re probably averaging just below 3.5t/ha, which is about on par with the five-year average, but people were expecting more as the crops were well established and podded nicely.”

In Wiltshire, Philip Steans had finished harvesting oilseed rape at Wiltshire College’s Lackham Farm, Chippenham, and was now cutting wholecrop cereals.

“We had 30ha of Alienor and a little bit of Camelot, and it all yielded 3.75t/ha,” he said. Having started combining on 9 July, it was one of the earliest harvests he had known.

“The fact that Alienor has come off the field so early yet yielded so well is a winning combination as far as we are concerned,” said Mr Steans.

Up in Northumberland, Glen Sanderson was yet to start harvest at Eshott South Farm, Felton, but was cautiously optimistic about yield prospects.

“A few people have started cutting winter barley around here, and we’ll probably make a start on ours at the end of this week (w/c 21 July),” he said.

“It’s looking okay, but not as good as it did three months ago – we haven’t had the best growing weather.”

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Harvest in Scotland was also yet to get under way to any great degree, with just odd fields of winter barley cut so far.

“So far there are just oddments of winter barley in the barn, but most areas will be into it by the end of this week,” said Trevor Harriman, general manager at Scotgrain.

Oilseed rape harvest would probably start early next week, with spring barley likely to be ready in mid-August.

“All the crops are coming on apace – and in the main everything looks fine,” he added.