West Sussex grower Alastair Strange may have grown Britain’s highest yielding milling wheat variety back in 2011 although the crop missed the breadmakers’ target protein level.
In the good growing season of 2011, the old milling variety Xi19 yielded 13.64t/ha on his fertile silty loam soils, but the protein slipped to only 11.9%.
In this summer’s harvest, Norfolk grower Mark Means combined a crop of Cordiale at 13.39t/ha, which could be Britain’s highest milling wheat yield to meet breadmakers’ requirements.
His bumper harvest made the miller’s standard specification of 13% protein, 250 hagberg and 76kg/hl specific weight in a year when the overall British wheat record was broken.
However, down on the south coast Mr Strange managed a high-yielding crop with high hagberg and specific weight of 300 and 79.5kg/hl, but slipped up only on protein levels.
“That year was fantastic, with good sunshine late in the season and the crop was grown on good Grade 1 land,” he says.
His agronomist Peter Cowlrick at crop consultants CCC says the Group 1 milling variety Xi19 has a high potential yield with large ears and a high number of grain sites but it is not a cheap variety to grow.
The variety is prone to septoria, has weak straw and needs high nitrogen levels, so the crop received a full four-spray fungicide programme and 320kg/ha of nitrogen fertiliser.
He remembers 2011 as a long growing season with warm summer days which never got too hot, and crops thrived on the farm on the edge of Chichester Harbour.
“The crop was fed well with nitrogen fertiliser and protected with fungicides allowing it to yield to its potential,” Mr Cowlrick says.
Mr Strange grows 260 hectares of combinable crops at Rector Farm, Bosham, some three miles west of Chichester.
The overall British wheat yield record was broken by Lincolnshire Wolds growers Tim Lamyman this summer with a yield of 14.31t/ha from the feed wheat variety Kielder.
If your milling wheat harvest has resulted in a high yield please let us know by emailing email@example.com or write to us at Farmers Weekly, Quadrant House, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS.