4 August 1995

Rolling on

after early start

Thunderstorms have done little to stop progress on one of the earliest harvests for some time

SEARING sunshine brought the start of wheat harvest into July on many farms. Performance of early light land crops suggests heavy land ones will be good.

"We are seeing very good quality grain but early yields are nothing to shout about," says Philip Dark of Linton-based co-op Camgrain.

"Second Ribands are doing about 3.25t/acre and samples look good. There has been little grain shrivelling and nothing to knock bushel weights of about 78kg/hl. Soissons has tremendous proteins of 11.5%-12.5% but its yield is nothing special."

Winter barley has done well with Pastoral averaging 8.75t/ha (3.5t/acre). But grain nitrogens within 20 miles of Linton have been higher than normal.

In Essex Guy Smith of St Osyth, reputed to be the driest part of the country, has 200ha (500 acres) of wheat.

"I went in at the end of last week which, apart from the drought year of 1976, is the earliest start ever," he says. "The yield monitor suggests my first wheat Genesis on heavy land did 8.6t/ha, which is as good as last year. The sample looks good with decent Hagbergs and proteins of 12% plus." But some second crop with bad take-all and uncontrolled blackgrass gave only 5.7t/ha (2.3t/acre).

Norfolk barometer grower Robin Baines expects to complete winter barley this week and be in spring barley at the weekend.

"So far it has been an easy harvest and there has been no need to trouble the drier," he says. "Yields are about 0.25t/acre better than average, with Gaelic and Sunrise giving 2.75t/acre, Puffin 2.66t, Halcyon 2.6t, the best Otter 2.5t and the worst 2t/acre."

There are no screenings and samples are generally bold. Specific weights are variable but "nothing to worry about" and nitrogens 1.4-1.6.

"It is a good malting barley season and I am now more optimistic about my 150 acres of triticale than I was a week ago."

In Lincs triticale on sandy loam is giving a similar yield to last year but the sample is thinner.

"The bushel weight of my 187 acres of Trimaran is low at around 55kg/hl – last year my Purdy was in the early 70s," says John Rainthorpe of Reasby Hall, Stainton by Langworth. "I am hoping for better from a small piece of Purdy."