24 August 2001
Harvest 2001: One to forget

By Tom Allen-Stevens and Tom Hood

AS MORE growers across the south complete their wheat crop, the post mortem of Harvest 2001 begins, and it pulls in some disheartened comments.

Its a harvest to forget, Trevor Horsnell, who farms on clay near Chelmsford in Essex, told FARMERS WEEKLY on Friday (24 August).

His Claire has performed 1t/ha down on average. Were not traditionally a high yielding farm, but yields are down.

Rain yesterday and overnight has caused more frustration for some growers in the west and south, but for most progress has been good in dry conditions.

But this has not helped Optic spring barley says John Smith at Kents Weald Granary.

Most will be feed barley. At least 50% has been downgraded, with split grains and pre-germination.

But further east, both Mr Horsnell and Norwich grower Robin Baines report quality has been good, with nitrogen below 1.65% and low screenings.

Wheat continues to be variable, but earlier fears that class one millers had been hit by the rain have again been contradicted by results.

Hereward and Malacca have performed OK in both the south and the north, but reports on the FARMERS WEEKLY/FWi Harvest Highlights service confirm that biscuit wheats have suffered.

Claire is the predominant crop in the north and there are concerns of sprouting, says Dalgetys Darrell Yarwood. Hagbergs vary from 120-180.

For growers, like Shropshire farmer Duncan Whiteman, the difference is most obvious between first and second wheats.

The bushel on the first looks above 80Kg/hl, but the second wheat looks below 70Kg/hl. Yield follows a similar trend for Lincolns Gerald Neesham:

Well be 0.5t/acre down on first wheat and 1t/acre down on second wheat. and its the same for Yorkshire grower Derek Lamplough.

Any remaining rain should fizzle out, says the Met Office, leaving behind a hot and sunny weekend. Showers may persist in Scotland and Northern Ireland.