Wheat harvest 97 was highly variable
QUALITY of the 1997 cereal harvest is highly variable, according to Gary Hutchings, Dalgetys crop marketing development manager.
Group 1 and 2 wheat proteins are over 0.5% up on last year, but specific weights are about 2kg/hl down. Hagbergs, while lower than last year, are mostly above the minimum 250 milling spec, he says.
The picture clearly excludes crops still unharvested. "But we do not anticipate this will change too dramatically, as farmers tend to go for their milling wheats first."
Group 3 and 4 types have fared less well, especially in the north. "Even the samples drawn before the rain were clearly not as good as the south.
"The effect is a serious deterioration in quality, particularly bushel weight. In some areas that will struggle to achieve the minimum feed standard of 72kg/hl, let alone an acceptable export standard.
"Even in the south, the bushel weights are up to 4kg/hl down on last year."
Winter barley specific weights are well down, but still meet standards for the internal feed market and export, says Mr Hutchings.
Nitrogen in the malting crop, at 1.73%, is much the same as last year. "Interestingly the screenings are significantly down from last years 14%.
"Spring barleys are showing lower nitrogens, but a high incidence of splits and skins will possibly lead to a shortage of good quality malting barley before the end of the season."
Group 1Group 2Group 3Group 4
Spec wt (kg/hl)79.379.078.977.678.175.280.375.5
Note: figures exclude Scotland.
Malting barley quality
Specific weight (kg/hl)n/a65.2n/a65.5
* 2.25mm screen. Note: Figures exclude Scotland.