24 August 2001

Kinder weather helps put campaign back on track

Better weather put harvest

back on the rails this week

with hopes high that Hagbergs

can be saved. Wheat yields

are proving a pleasant

surprise for some, but many

spring barleys are average at

best. Our comprehensive

coverage continues, kicking

off in the bread-basket of

England, East Anglia.

Edited by Andrew Swallow

EAST ANGLIA

WHEAT yields are widely reported 10-15% down on last year across much of East Anglia, and concern is rising for spring barley quality after heavy rain at the end of last week.

At Dawe Estates, near Thetford, half the crop was cleared earlier this week with variable yields so far, says farm manager, David Trollope.

"The combine yield monitor has shown huge differences from field to field – 6-14t/ha."

Malacca is particularly disappointing and wont be grown again. "In a first wheat situation, it did 8t/ha, which is 1t/ha less than last year. As a second wheat it was a disaster, coming in just under 5t/ha."

Claire as a first wheat gave 8.8t/ha and Pearl winter barley 7t/ha. "Both are below expectations. The only pleasing result is hybrid wheat Hyno Esta, which was drilled very late and very badly, and achieved 8-8.5t/ha."

As on most farms in the region peas have not been started.

After a stop-start week Eastern barometer grower Stuart Knight in Norfolk remains pleasantly surprised with his wheat yields (see Spotlight, Arable, Aug 17) and was busy drilling oilseed rape on Monday after Sundays soaking.

Stephen Howlett of Grainfarmers at Bressingham, Norfolk, says wheat yields are all over the place, with heavy land yields being the most disappointing. That is echoed by Trevor Gates at Dalgety Walsingham.

"Yields are down 0.5-0.75t/ha on last year, with the heavier land performing badly. Some Group 1 yields have been very poor, but proteins were high at 14-16%."

Spring barley yields are typically 4.8-5t/ha (1.9-2t/acre) with nitrogen in the 1.4-1.9% range. Few will fail for malting, but quality may have been hit by recent rain, says Mr Howlett.

Hagbergs on wheat have held up so far, says Mr Gates. "The biggest problem is screenings, which are 4-5%."

Cambs grower Greg Blisss specific weight and Hagbergs are fine, but protein all over the place at 11.9-14.3% off his fenland farm at Holme.

"Wheats are as good as they have ever been," he says with well over half his crop cut. Shamrock, Malacca and Hereward averaged 10.1t/ha, 9.4t/ha and just under 9t/ha, respectively, the Hereward having been December-drilled after roots.