7 September 2001
Extremely variable wheat

JUSTIN BLACKWOOD, farmer and crop consultant from Northamptonshire, describes this season’s wheat harvest as "extremely variable." He only has some spring wheat to combine, not yet fit, and farmers in the area are still combining beans.

Put simply, crops drilled earlier into lighter land have done better than late crops and heavy land.

"Claire and Consort drilled at the end of September on medium land have had exceptional yields. One field averaged 5t/acre and a large acreage has yielded over 4t/acre.

"But there are also fields that are not so good, drilled late and averaging nearer 3t/acre, which pulls the average down. But the good crops have been pleasing."

Quality of the biscuit wheat has been within specification. Malacca has had slightly more varied quality. "The Hagbergs are between 280-340, the bushel is sufficient, but the protein is lower at 12.5%, despite putting liquid urea on it. But the wheat should go for some blending. It depends on how the market unfolds."

A similar story has unfolded on the other farms he is involved with. "Where wheat has been put in well, drilled early at the correct seed rate and has had good treatment and management in well-drained soils, have done surprisingly well. But equally there have been some disappointing yields."

He also says that second wheat has not yielded very well, but not disastrously.

His customers are now busy combining beans. "Yields vary from below 1t/acre to 1.6t/acre. These are below average but not surprising as they were drilled late in March and April and then suffered drought in May and June. Generally yields are down by 0.5t/acre." About 70% of beans have been combined in the area."


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