22 August 2001
Harvest latest: Wheat over for some

By Tom Allen-Stevens and Tom Hood

WITH wheat harvest drawing to a close in some regions across the UK, thoughts are beginning to turn to variety choice for next year.

Matthew Philips of John Ebbage Seeds based in Downham market gives full marks to Option winter wheat: “were seeing some storming yields.”

One grower yielded 11.4t/ha (4.65t/acre), with a specific weight of 76Kg/hl, he told FARMERS WEEKLY on Wednesday (22 August).

Although Claire, Consort and Hereward have also been yielding well, he says some seed samples have germination problems, with grains starting to sprout.

Option has also performed well for Adrian Howell, farming in South Lincolnshire: “They said it would yield better on lighter land and it has done.”

And full marks for Deben from Wiltshire seed grower Roger Moore: “Although its for a specialist market, it is cheap to grow and will be a barn buster.”

But in such a variable year, many growers, like Philip Gorringe, who farms with his father Adrian at Blakemere, west of Hereford, will find it a tough decision.

“Factors affecting yield have been outside variety, which makes it more difficult to make next years choices.”

Meanwhile growers in the South West are still struggling to get the combine out. “Weve only seen two loads of wheat at 23%,” says Cannington Grains Ted Bird.

He says a lot of grain is growing in the ears after wet weather and only 10-15% is fit. “Most of the wheat will struggle to hit 72Kg/hl.”

In North Yorkshire, Andrew Foster is worried about his Rialto: “weve had a lot of rain in the last two weeks and so may struggle with the Hagberg.”

Progress has also been sluggish in Scotland, and half-way through harvest, Northern Irish grower William Russell reports he should by now have finished.

“Im pleased enough with the yields, but the moisture is up to 22%, which means too much drying.”

But with settled conditions over the whole of the UK, according to the Met Office any remaining crops should be drying out quickly.

Cloud will begin to bubble up on Thursday with more heavy and persistent rain expected for the West and North on Friday.