23 August 2001
Harvest latest: Optic pre-germ worry

By Tom Allen-Stevens and Tom Hood

SPRING barley is the most recent subject of quality concerns as another clear day over most of the UK saw combines make significant progress.

Nick Brown, at Wiltshire Grain reports some Optic has come in pre-germinated and split. “Weve only had it on one or two loads, but it is a worrying sign.”

Philip Darke of Camgrain says quality is generally good and yields have been average, but growers have had to harvest unripe crops to stop pre-germination.

“Rains falling on fully fit crops are beginning to make them germinate. Weve had a few failures on this,” he told FARMERS WEEKLY on Thursday (23 August).

Malacca quality is holding up well, he reports, but Hereward is more questionable. Hagbergs are dropping to 110 on biscuit wheats. “Soft wheat quality has drifted.”

The pattern of variable crops continues throughout the harvest reports on the FARMERS WEEKLY/FWi Harvest Highlights service.

“The first wheat crops have been pleasing, but the second crops have been more disappointing,” reports Suffolk grower Sam Fairs.

His Malacca has not perfomed well in the second wheat slot, yielding 8t/ha and with both low protein and Hagberg.

“Wheat is all over the place. Protein is generally on the low side, but not below milling quality,” sums up Liz Craig of Dalgetys in Shrewsbury.

But way behind schedule, Northumberland grower Mark Vickers, near Alnwick is still struggling to get through his winter barley.

“Wed normally have combined winter barley by now. It is affecting our drilling patterns for oilseed rape and now we have to utilise some set-a-side.”

And Perth grower Alastair Morrison is only just back in the combine after the weekends two inches of rain. “We tried to go at 25%, but today it is 19%.”

Todays pulse of rain in the west and south-east surprised Met Office and growers alike. The forecast is for humid but settled conditions for most over the weekend.