Harvest

Wheat harvest is about 20% complete in central southern England, with yields and quality both well below average.

“There are plenty of crops coming in now – mostly yields have been disappointing, but there are some really horrible crops out there,” said Mike Clay, manager at Hampshire Grain.

“The straw has been quite green so farmers have been struggling to find anything to go through the combine, so they’ve been moving from one field to another to keep busy.”

So far yields were about 15% below average, at 6.2-7.4t/ha, but two of Hampshire Grain’s directors reckoned they would be 30% down, he added.

“There is such a huge amount of variation that there isn’t really a clear picture.”

Solstice and Cordiale were averaging about 72-74kg/hl, with soft wheats at 65-68kg/hl.

“There are some much worse than that, though – we’ve seen Panorama and Oakley at 56-57kg/hl.”

Protein contents were generally good, at 12-14%, but many of the Hagberg Falling Numbers were down, in the low 200s, said Mr Clay. “It’s a very mixed bag.”

Spring barley was doing well, at 6.2-7.4t/ha, although appearance and skinning were an issue. “Nitrogen contents are fine, and although bushel weights are down they’re not too bad.”

Many of the crops were two weeks behind normal, he added. “People are cutting their better wheat now, so what follows will be critical. Unfortunately we’ve got five days of rain ahead.”