Fastest harvest in five years

Perfect weather and peak crop maturity meant farmers combined more in the week to Tuesday (3 September) than in any single week of harvest for the past five years.

According to the latest HGCA / ADAS report, combines cut 1.3m ha of crops over the week, including 45% of the UK’s wheat area and almost 40% of the spring barley area.

“Almost 80% of all combinable crops have now been harvested, which is in line with the five-year average at this stage,” said the report.

With 85% of the winter wheat now in the barn, yields were estimated at 7.6-7.7t/ha. Quality remained good, with specific weight averaging 76kg/hl; Hagberg falling number over 300 seconds; and protein at 12.9%, but variable.

About 70% of the spring barley crop had now been cleared, with yields averaging 5.5-5.7t/ha. Specific weights were pegged at 66kg/hl, with nitrogen contents averaging 1.6%.

“Winter barley harvest is complete, while the extended winter oilseed rape harvest is nearing an end,” said the report.

“Estimated national average yields for winter barley and most spring crops are above the five-year average, while wheat and winter oilseed rape yields are close to or slightly below average.”

Winter barley yields were estimated at 6.5-6.9 t/ha, with winter rape at 3.2-3.4t/ha.

“Yields are very variable, depending on soil type and crop management; with additional variability in many winter crops affected by poor establishment and water logging.”

With 70% of the oat crop now cut, yields averaged 5.6-5.8t/ha, said the report. “Specific weights are low in the East and better in the West.”

Spring oilseed rape harvest was about 10% through, with early yield indications looking good.

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