Drought dampens Oxon wheat yields

Winter wheat yields are around 20% down on normal for Oxfordshire farmer Anthony Gibbons.

Dry weather throughout much of this season has particularly affected crops on the light chalky clay. “We’ve had an average of one inch [of rain] per month, so we’re well down on usual – the high temperatures in July just finished crops off.”

He started cutting wheat last week (August 4), with Claire on gravely soil coming off at a disappointing 6.2t/ha (2.5t/acre) and 12% protein. While some later-sown crops have fared slightly better, late-drilled Xi19 only just reached 7.5t/ha (3t/acre), when it normally yields closer to 10t/ha, he said.

Quality is varied, with generally good proteins and Hagbergs, but bushel weights are below average. Einstein came in at 72-75kg/hl, compared to a more normal 80kg/hl, he said.

“The only saving grace is that crops are fairly dry – the first field of wheat came in at 16%, so it needed to be dried, but the rest is between 15-13%.”

In contrast, Mr Gibbons was very pleased with his 24ha of Expert oilseed rape, which yielded 4t/ha. Despite the chalky clay soils not being ideal for growing oilseed rape this was his highest rape yield for 20 years.

The crop remained relatively disease-free throughout the year and was direct cut without any desiccant, he noted.

“I will definitely stick with Expert next year, as it did very well on this farm.”

  • Crop/variety: Claire winter wheat

  • Area: N/A

  • Yield: 6.2t/ha

  • Quality: 12% protein


  • Expert oilseed rape

  • 24ha

  • 4t/ha

  • N/A

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