27 July 2001
All systems go for Harvest 2001

By Tom Hood, FARMERS WEEKLY harvest reporter

HARVEST 2001 is “bang on target”, although rape yields are disappointing, a senior grain trader told FARMERS WEEKLY on Friday (27 July).

“With the warm weather, the wheat is catching up,” said Richard Whitlock, grain director for Banks Cargill, who has heard reports of wheat being cut in Hampshire and Somerset.

His comments come as part of the FARMERS WEEKLY and FWi exclusive harvest coverage. Click here to see more.

Mr Whitlock believes the recent rains followed by warm weather are letting crops ripen naturally.

And with the long-range weather forecast for the next two weeks looking good, growers can look forward to an uninterrupted stretch of harvesting.

Oilseed rape is variable, however: farmers with the crop are tending to harvest this first if it has been swathed or desiccated.

“They are trying to get it in quickly, as some of it is becoming brittle, with pods shelling,” said Mr Whitlock.

For the most part the rape harvest is meeting expectations, although there is a disappointing yield, between 2.5-3.2t/ha (1-1.3t/acre).

“The barley is showing a mixed bag.” He says there is a full range of quality, noting that the middle of the country is doing worse.

Yields are varying from 5.5-8.6 t/ha (2.25-3.5t/acre) – about average, he reports.

Vanessa, although not on the official brewers list, is doing well. “The grains are mellow in shape, big and bold and well thrashed.”

Regina grains are also showing up well, but as usual farmers and merchants are concerned about quality, Mr Whitlock notes.

There may be problems with later crops, reflecting the difficult autumn and spring sowing conditions.