About three-quarters of the total British cereal and oilseed crop area has been harvested, which is a week earlier than normal, according to the latest Adas report.
However, the more changeable weather seen in recent days has seen progress slow down in the North, with only 7% of spring barley cut in the North East.
Grain quality continues to be good, with yields better than expected in many areas, given the challenging growing conditions experienced this year.
In particular, yields on heavier soils – where moisture retention has been higher – have exceeded expectations.
Elsewhere on lighter land, yields are largely dependent on levels of rainfall over the past few months and have suffered in some parts, says the report.
Overall, after a challenging growing season, yields are on par with or slightly below the GB five-year average.
Here are some key findings from the Adas report produced for the week ending 14 August.
- GB winter wheat harvest is now 80% complete – ahead of the past five harvests.
- Winter wheat harvest is drawing to a close in southern England, with 99% of crops cut in the South East.
- In the North, progress has been slower with 55% harvested in Yorkshire and Humberside, half in Wales and in Scotland only 26% of the crop has now been cut.
- The national average estimated wheat yield is 7.7-8.0t/ha (adjusted to 14.5% moisture), which is below the five-year mean of 8.2t/ha.
- Yields are highly variable ranging from 2.5t/ha on the lightest land, through to an excellent 15t/ha on a silt soil in Lincolnshire.
- Harvest of winter barley is now complete. This puts harvest completion just ahead of the 2014 harvest and in line with completion in 2017.
- The GB yield estimate for winter barley is 6.8-7t/ha (adjusted to 14.5% moisture) which is in line with the GB five-year average of 6.9t/ha.
- Regional average yields range from 5.6-7.5t/ha, although there is a great deal of variability within and between farms.
- Just under 35% of the national area has been harvested and compared with previous years, 2018 harvest progress is slightly behind 2014, although ahead of other harvests over the past five years.
- More than 70% of the spring barley area has been harvested in the South East, with 63% cut in the West Midlands. Less progress has been made in the South West at 48% of the crop area.
- In Scotland, only 9% of the crop area has been cut with 7% in Wales and 5% in the North East.
- Yields have been variable, depending on the soil type and how much rainfall the field received over the past few months, currently at 5.1-5.5t/ha.
- In the South East and South West yields remain close to average, while in the Eastern region yields are about 5% down.
Winter oilseed rape
- GB winter oilseed rape harvest is now complete in England and Wales, with 93% of the crop harvested in Scotland. However, due to recent weather delays in Scotland, harvest progress has slowed and is now behind the early harvests of 2014 and 2017.
- The estimated average yield for winter oilseed rape is 3.3-3.5t/ha, which remains slightly below the GB five-year average of 3.5t/ha.
- Yields are highly variable with light land yields continuing to drop as low as 1.5-2.0t/ha, while on heavier land the yields continue to range from 3.5-5.0t/ha.
NFU harvest survey
The NFU is once again running its harvest survey to give the sector an early look at this year’s harvest performance in what has been a challenging season. Farmers in England and Wales wishing to take part have until 23 September to get involved. The survey form can be found on the NFU website.