Wheat yields have been catastrophic at David Riley’s Upper Stanway Farm, Ludlow, Shropshire.
“Last year and this year have been the most awful yields we’ve had in 15 years, because of the wet conditions and heavy ground.”
First wheats had yielded about 8.7t/ha (3.5t/acre) – 2.5t/ha (1t/acre) less than the rolling five-year average, he said. “With the high input costs, that’s pretty disastrous.”
Second wheats in the area had also been very poor, at just 5t/ha (2t/acre). “That’s what is going to bring the country’s wheat volumes down.”
With wheat prices at around £90/t ex-farm, and costs of production of £988/ha (£400/acre), Mr Riley expected to make significant losses this year.
“The problem is that we have so few main buyers that we are totally in their grip.”
Winter barley had yielded about average, with Sequel performing the best at over 7.4t/ha (3t/acre).
Oilseed rape yields were below average, while spring barley, patched into some winter wheat, had produced an exceptional 7.4t/ha (3t/acre) over the weekend.
Mr Riley still had 53ha (130 acres) of Diego winter wheat to cut, and was waiting for it to die off. “We tried some yesterday (8 September) but it was 21.5% moisture and the grain drier is full again.
“The problem is that we just haven’t had enough sun, so it’s not maturing.”
Soil conditions were extremely wet, and he had to fit dual wheels when cutting the winter barley. “If we put more than 8t on the trailer it was sinking in.”
Farmers in the area still had a lot of spring barley, beans and wheat left to cut, he added.
Crop: Winter wheat
Yield: 8.7t/ha (3.5t/acre)
Crop: Spring barley
Yield: 7.4t/ha (3t/acre)
Crop: Winter barley
Yield: >7.4t/ha (3t/acre)
Duxford winter wheat is an HGCA Recommended List 2009/10 variety with very high UK treated yields and a maximum 9 rating for resistance to lodging with and without PGR. Combined with the highest second wheat yield and a balanced disease resistance profile, Duxford will continue to help UK growers meet the challenge of producing more grain profitably.