Over 17,000ha of wheat yields were submitted to Farmers Weekly’s Yield Watch survey in its first year.
National average yield according to the entered data were 8.90t/ha – significantly higher than the HGCA/ADAS and NFU yield estimates of 7.6 and 7.4t/ha respectively.
This is probably a reflection that growers are happy to share their better yields, but, in general, less keen to reveal the less successful areas of the farm. However, future years of data will now be able to be benchmarked against this figure to give some indication of how harvest compares across the years.
The relative differences between regions and varieties , where enough data was entered, also make interesting reading in this year’s survey.
The east/west split was marked. East Anglia was particularly hard hit by the long spring drought, with average yields of just over 8t/ha, over 0.75t/ha lower than any other region.
The drought also appears to have hit yields in the East Midlands and South East, shaving around 0.5t/ha off yields compared with the West Midlands and South West. Both regions, and the North, including Scotland and Northern Ireland, appeared to have successful harvests, although the weather didn’t make combining easy in the latter.
The survey accurately mirrored usual wisdom in Group 3 and 4 varieties being the barn fillers, with the milling varieties somewhat behind. Group 3 averaged 9.28t/ha, while Group 4 did 9.20t/ha. That was 0.75t/ha more than the premium milling varieties and 1.0t/ha more than Group 2s.
The variety winners this season, according to the survey, appeared to be Invicta and, perhaps, surprisingly Claire. The just under 500ha of Invicta, yielded a very impressive 10.39t/ha, while Claire did 9.75t/ha. Drilling into this data further suggests that very little of the Claire submitted was grown in East Anglia, which might have lowered its average.
Of the Group 4 varieties where over 400ha was submitted, JB Diego came out on top at 9.83t/ha, around 0.5t/ha ahead of Oakley and Alchemy. Viscount and Grafton were just under 1.0t/ha behind, while Duxford – maybe as a result of its second wheat position on farm – was lowest at 8.46t/ha.
The battle between Solstice and Gallant went clearly in the favour of Solstice, according to the results. Solstice averaged 8.87t/ha, Gallant 8.27t/ha, while Group 2 favourite Cordiale did 8.76t/ha.