Harvest 2021: Essex wheat yields down; quality holding up

Will Streeter has cut 115ha of milling wheat in Essex, with yields down by about 1t/ha on his medium-term average – although the grain quality is holding up well.

He has cut two blocks of the variety Skyfall, grown as a second wheat. It is yielding 7.5-8t, when he would normally expect 8.5-9t/ha.

However, grain quality was holding up at 300 Hagberg, 13% protein and 75kg/hl specific weight, and all was cut at 15-18% moisture.

“The grains are small and a bit pinched – probably due to the lack of sunlight – and that was before four days of rain over the weekend,” he said.

See also: Harvest 2021: Wheat is cut wet between the rains showers

Resume harvesting

Mr Streeter contract-farms about 2,000ha of heavy clay arable land on the Essex/Hertfordshire border, based near Bishop Stortford, and was hoping to resume harvesting later this week.

With only 115ha of his 1,100ha of winter wheat cut, he said it has been a difficult harvest due to the weather, but with two combines he can cut 80ha/day when the weather dries up.

“It’s early days yet and we will get a better idea once we get into the wheats on our better land, where first wheats would normally do 10t/ha,” he said.

His winter barleys, all now harvested, yielded 7-7.5t/ha – again down about 1t/ha on the farm average.

However, he was very pleased with his oilseed rape yield of 3.5t/ha, which was up on the previous year. He put this down to early drilling ahead of the cabbage stem flea beetle migration.

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