Ergot a problem in the East

Wheat quality has held up well following the wet August in the East Midlands, although ergot has been a problem, according to Guy Smith at Dalmark Grain.

“We’re still taking in dribs and drabs of wheat, as well as some beans – and we haven’t noticed any real decrease in Hagbergs or bushel weights,” he said.

But protein contents were averaging just over 12%, putting a lot of Group One varieties into the lower quality milling bracket.

“Ergot is a problem this year due to the mild growing conditions,” added Mr Smith. “It’s mostly wheat ergot but where there’s bad blackgrass there is blackgrass ergot, too.”

See also: Harvest verdict – bumper barley and wheat yields but quality down.

Wheat and barley yields had generally been good, and barley quality was very pleasing, with spring barley nitrogen contents averaging 1.4% and winters 1.5%. “There’s a bit more demand for higher nitrogen samples now, for blending.”

Unfortunately, with the malting market well booked up, new sales would likely have to wait until the New Year, he said.

Pea yields had been very disappointing, with many crops struggling to make 2.5t/ha. “Any peas cut before the rain were good, but there have been bleaching issues in samples after the rain,” said Mr Smith.

“There’s a very definite band of quality on the colour so farmers will have to be careful with sampling and segregating.”

Beans were only starting to come in now, alongside some linseed, he added. “The linseed is very nice looking and is commanding a premium price.”

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