23 August 2002

Wheat sums done early

IN an effort to put the spectre of last years wheat marketing behind me, I have decided to work out the final gross margin for harvest 2001, now that all the returns have been received, writes John Lambkin.

The area sown to wheat in autumn 2000 was 116.76ha (288 acres) of which 15% was sown late after sugar beet and 8% as a second wheat. This was probably some 27ha (67acres) more than normal, but with wheat consistently looking the best combinable crop gross margin, I felt the decision well justified.

We have discussed the successes and failures of both the weather and management of this crop before, particularly the marketing, but this time last year we felt that we had harvested some 930t of relatively good quality wheat.

The Claire was sold off the combine for £75/t, leaving both Class 1 Malacca and Class 2 Abbot in store.

The Abbot had a poor bushel weight and was sold for June/July collection for £77/t on a minimum 72kg/hl specification, and went without a hitch. But the 600t of Malacca became a sellers nightmare. After harvest last year, two-thirds of this tested over 76 for bushel weight, 14% for protein and had Hagberg readings in excess of 300, the remainder had suspect specific weights and therefore fallbacks were built into this contract.

Of the 20 loads sold on four different contracts, 12 had claims against them or were rejected and re-directed for feed. The average selling price which varied between £91 to £51 was £77.62/t and represented a drop of more than £7,000 on budgeted expectation last year.

Overall we have sold 913.77t of wheat to average a yield of 7.83t/ha (3.17t/acre). The average price per tonne sold net of levies and weighbridge charges, was £76.11/t. That compares none too favourably with our five-year average of 8.8t/ha (3.56t/acre) sold at £80/t.

The gross margin for wheat 2001 harvest, compared with 2000, is shown in table 1. The league table of gross margins for combinable crops 2001 harvest (table 2) shows wheat coming a poor third behind barley and oilseed rape.

Talking of oilseed rape, brings me to this years harvest and some good news. Last week I reported that the oilseed rape had been sold for harvest movement and that we anticipated a yield of 130t. The final tonnage sold and moved was, in fact, 144.92t plus a further 0.3 tonnes dressed for home consumption as seed, making a final yield of 4.56t/ha (1.84t/acre) compared with a five-year farm average of 4.1t/ha (1.65t/acre). The final price will depend on moisture and oil bonuses, news of which we await with interest.

Harvest is proceeding well, having had some glorious weather last week. We started cutting wheat on August 13 at 17.5 % moisture, falling to 14% by the following afternoon, cutting 277t in 21hr over two working days.

The first field we harvested was a second wheat and has yielded 8.2t/ha (3.31t/acre) and the second sown after peas has yielded 9.2t/ha (3.72t/acre), both are Malacca, quality unknown.

With the sun shining, we moved into peas last Thursday in what can only be described as a salvage operation. The crop had been flattened to the ground by recent heavy rains and we had been dreading the day on which we had to make a start. Remembering the problems we have had in previous years, attempting to lift a particularly prostrate variety off the deck, but more of this next week, when we shall hopefully have this job behind us. &#42

At last…barley straw which has lain in the swath for two weeks following the rain, has been baled by Easton Lodge student Nick Kiddy using our Welger baler and flat-eight accumulator. The straw, which has yielded about average, will be used in the farms pig unit.


2001 (116.76ha) 2000 (72.72ha)

(Ha) (Total) (Ha) (Total)

Yield (t) 7.83 913.77 9.05 657.98

Output (£) (£) (£) (£) (£)

grain 595.61 69,543.27 724.51 52,686.50

straw 39.29 4,588.00 76.66 5,575.00

area aid 217.74 25423.22 220.48 16033.01

Total £852.64 £99,554.49 £1021.65 £74294.51

Variable costs (£) (£) (£) (£)

Seed 28.22 3295.48 28.78 2093.14

Fertiliser

nitrogen 74.19 8,662.96 50.40 3,665.39

compound – – 22.83 1,659.84

Sprays

herbicides 21.70 2,533.23 26.18 1,903.47

fungicides 48.19 5,626.49 68.99 5,016.68

insecticides 10.19 1189.53 5.94 431.84

adjuvants 4.87 568.47 2.76 200.43

trace elements 5.57 650.78 3.92 284.79

growth regs 6.06 707.33 9.67 702.96

Total £198.99 £23,234.27 £219.45 £15,958.53

Gross margin £653.65 £76,320.22 £802.20 £58,335.98


(£/ha)

Wheat 653.65

Barley 814.38

Oilseed rape 748.68

Peas 427.42