Harvest 2004: Initial results

QUALITY OF earlier harvested crops this year was better than those affected by August rainfall, initial indications suggest.

Earlier maturing winter barley crops were less affected by heavy rainfall seen across England and southern Scotland, according to the Home Grown Cereal Authority‘s (HGCA) Cereal Quality Survey.

In contrast, early data points to a variable quality wheat crop with deteriorating hagberg falling numbers as the harvest progressed northwards, said HGCA‘s information analyst, Rupert Somerscales.

“Results for the key barley varieties are generally in line with historical levels for most quality tests.”

“Nitrogen content and specific weight results are mixed and vary according to variety and location, while screening results are currently better than their 3-year average levels.”

Optic and Cellar averaged 1.66% and 1.78% nitrogen, close to their respective 3-year averages, said Mr Somerscales.

Specific weight for spring variety Cellar averaged 66.3Kg/hl, 0.4Kg/hl above its 3-year average, while Optic, at 67.2Kg/hl is 0.6Kg/hl below its 3-year average.

Wheat results are also mixed, Mr Somerscales noted.

Nabim group 3 varieties are already demonstrating lower average hagberg numbers despite a greater number of samples from drier southern and eastern counties.

Specific weights ranged from 78.5Kg/hl for an average of nabim group 1 varieties in the South West to 73.2Kg/hl for nabim group 4 varieties in the Midlands.

“These results represent the first 20-25% of the harvest which was cut before the very wet weather in August.