Harvest 09: Wet in the NE

Wet weather continues to frustrate farmers in the North East and Scottish Borders, where winter barley harvest is only two-thirds complete.

Gary Bright, managing director of GrainCo, said spring barley harvest was underway, and wheat harvest was just 10% through.

“Farmers are trying to get what they can done, as and when the weather allows.”

Winter barley yields had been variable, but averaging around 7.4t/ha (3t/acre), with bold bushelweights of 67-68kg/hl.

Crops were coming into store anywhere between 14% and 20% moisture, and in Berwickshire harvest was only about 30% through, he said.

Oats were coming off well, and were good quality, but about half of the spring barley was failing to make malting grade due to poor appearance, low germination or high nitrogen contents.

“There was a lot of bare land in the spring, and a lot of farmers weren’t really growing it for malting. Yields, too, have been indifferent.”

Winter wheat yields ranged from poor to average, although milling quality seemed reasonable, said Mr Bright.

“It’s shaping up to be an average year, which, bearing in mind the conditions some of the crops went into, is better than expected.”

Harvest was not unusually late for the region, he added. “If we had three or four dry days most of the crops would be ready to go.”

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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.

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