1995 is a jackpot year for UK wheat growers
WHEAT growers have hit the jackpot this year. High yields and quality put the UK crop at the top of the European pile, according to merchant Dalgety. Barley output is also up, but quality variable.
National average wheat yield is 7.64t/ha (3.1t/acre), 4% higher than last year. Growers in the north fared best, with the east a close second, partly due to a 1t/ha (0.4t/acre) yield hike in Norfolk (see table 1), says arable crop marketing manager Andrew Barnard.
The Dalgety survey, based on 1000 farms and 2m tonnes of grain, shows plenty of sunshine produced "superb quality" wheat, adds general manager Don Patterson. "It is very similar to last year, with high specific weights, tremendous Hagbergs and good proteins."
Group 1 wheats averaged 11.5% protein, 0.4% more than 1994. Specific weight was also higher, by 1.8kg/hl at 82, and Hagberg was just four points down on last year at 316.
Hereward did well everywhere, he reports (see table 2). Mercia gave good results too, though proteins and specific weights were slightly lower in the south-west.
The most widely grown group 2 wheats, Soissons and Rialto, also achieved high scores, though northern crops had lower proteins.
Ever-popular group 3 variety Riband achieved a specific weight of 77.8kg/hl, 9.8% protein and 282 Hagberg. Group 4 wheats Hunter, Hussar and Brigadier produced similar samples, with protein at about 10%, specific weight at or just under 80kg/hl, and a Hagberg around 300.
There is good news for barley growers too. "Average yields varied from 5.8t/ha in the south-east to 6.2t/ha in the north," says Mr Barnard. "Average across all regions was 6.2t/ha, 9% above last year." Spring barley also "performed well", averaging 5.2t/ha (2.1t/acre), 15% higher than 1994, mainly due to heavy northern and Scottish crops.
But variable quality spoilt some samples, notably high screenings in Lincs and Yorks. Norfolk and Scotland produced the best samples.
Nitrogens are generally higher than last year, more in line with maltsters needs.
Table 1: UK average wheat yields 1995.
Table 2: Milling quality – Group 1 and 2