10 September 2001
Variable harvest almost finished

HARVEST has been very variable in the West Country according to Wessex Grain.

Owen Cligg says yields on chalk soils have been above average but on heavier soil below average. “In West Dorset and Devon yields are down 5% and there is an increase of 1-2% from last year in East Dorset and Wiltshire.”

There was 20% less wheat area drilled but this has not translated into a less than full grain store. Mr Cligg says, “the store is pretty well full. There has not been any shipping market so a lot of grain has gravitated into the store. Wheat is 95% complete.

“Also, a lot of farmers have grown spring barley and beans so these are also coming into store and this will make it full.”

Wheat quality has held quite well. “Hagbergs have held up tremendously well. Protein has been good and specific weight has been moderate, but not a problem because it can be cleaned up and blended.”

With 50% of beans combined yields are said to be down by 30%.

Anna Stiles says there is still some spring barley still to be combined and that but at least 95% are complete.

“Were seeing some rubbish spring barley. Its dark and dull when you expect nice bright berries.

“But the early stuff was lovely. About 80% is very good quality and 20% not so brilliant.”

The later barley is not expected to make malting. There has been a lot of dewy weather, which means the crop is wet and combining days shorter.


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