3 September 2001
Harvest Latest: Quality deteriorates

By Tom Allen-Stevens and Tom Hood

As harvest draws to a close in the south, the quality is beginning to deteriorate noticeably.

“Wheat and barley samples now coming in are not pretty, with bits of green in them,” Cannington Grains Ted Bird told FARMERS WEEKLY on Monday 3 September.

“The spring barley is not good quality, with fusarium anywhere and everywhere you look. Its not a pretty picture.”

Anna Stiles at Wessex Grain says spring barley quality is getting worse: “Were now seeing skinning problems, higher nitrogen, pre-germination and fusarium.”

Martin Parry at Centaur Grain, reports similar results, but is not surprised by the variability of the quality of this years spring barley crops.

“Many were planted late by farmers who grew them as they could not grow winter wheat and are not professional spring barley growers.”

This is frustrating Padstow grower Charlie Watson Smyth. The quality of the crop in the area is so poor there may not be enough to warrant a boat load from Truro.

His quality was OK: “The bushel is good – around 70Kg/hl off the heavier crops – but the nitrogen from the first 50t was on the higher side at 1.88%.”

Oats have let down an otherwise excellent harvest for Dorset grower George Horsford: “It seems though they were less forgiving on autumn and winter rainfall.”

Meanwhile the winter bean harvest is producing some dismal samples. Canningtons Ted Bird reports that Bruchid Beetle has been a problem.

“Every sample Ive seen has got some in, making little holes like woodworm. This means they are not exportable.”

Unlike other crops, beans have suffered from dry conditions, says Mr Parry. “Farmers have been combining at 7am when its damp to avoid pod-shatter.”

Heavy showers and high winds are expected to move in across the eastern half of the UK tonight and tomorrow, says the Met Office, clearing on Wednesday.

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