Harvest 2018: Essex grower nearly done cutting wheat

Essex grower Roger Barron is set to finish his winter wheat harvest tomorrow – at the time he usually starts combining – after one of the earliest seasons on record.

He expects to finish cutting his 270ha of winter wheat on Thursday (2 August), with yields of his feed and biscuit wheats down about 15%.

“The wheat should be finished by Thursday if the weather holds, which is usually the time we start harvesting in some years,” he told Farmers Weekly.

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His yields are down 15%, with his first wheat at 9t/ha and second wheats at 8.3-8.5t/ha. He grows feed wheat varieties Gleam and Gravity and biscuit wheats Basset and Zulu.

Quality has been good, with Gleam showing a specific weight of 80kg/hl and Gravity at 75kg/hl, with animal feed compounders looking for a minimum of 72kg/hl.

“It’s going to be an average year in terms of tonnage, but the rise in prices will help compensate,” he added.

Feed wheat prices have been rising because of the dry weather in the UK and most of continental Europe leading to lower yields, with November London feed wheat futures trading above £185/t.

Mr Barron farms 500ha at Pattocks Farm, Chappel, some five miles west of Colchester, on clay loam soils.