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LOW BUSHEL weights are a concern for a number of growers, according to latest reports.
Many are blaming the problem on cold weather earlier this spring, or exceptionally dry weather in June and July. It appears to be a particular issue for crops on lighter soils.
John Moss in Cornwall said bushel weights are “worryingly disappointing” at around 71kg/hl compared to the usual 74-76kg/hl. He believes this is either due to the cold March or hot weather in June.
Bushel weights are also down for John Steele in Norfolk, who has finished harvest two weeks earlier than last season. Wheat has been averaging 76–79kg/hl this season, compared to 80kg/hl last year.
But Hagbergs have generally been high in the area, although he is concerned that an abundance of good quality crops will cause premiums to fall.
South Hertfordshire farmer Tim Whitehead is concerned for his remaining 80ha of wheat. Although he has cut all his milling wheat, bushel weights are falling in the remaining crop. Yields have been about average at 9.8 – 9.9t/ha, he noted.
Meanwhile, some growers have also suggested that dry weather in June could be responsible for high nitrogen levels in spring barley.
Dorset farmer David Chick said 50ha of Optic yielded an average 7.25t/ha, but is concerned by very high nitrogen levels. He also said 144ha of winter wheat was “slightly light” on bushel weight.
Nitrogen concerns were shared by David Roberts of G O Davies of Westbury. He said many growers in the Shrewsbury area had reported high levels, but said it was expected after the dry spell in June.
See FWi’s Harvest Highlights section for the regional reports in full and more from around the country, updated every day.