Quality starts to suffer

Quality of some wheat is starting to suffer in the rain, but others are holding up reasonably well, according to Masstock agronomist David Neale.

“It is very frustrating – and the storms that came through yesterday (23 August) across much of the country were unbelievable. It’s been horrendous.”

Combines continued to nibble away at crops between the showers. “But some wheat is going grey and I should think that quality is on the move.

“It is very concerning, and the forecast this week is catchy to say the least. But until we get the crop off after the rain we won’t know.”

Ground conditions were getting soft, which would not help.

“And moisture levels are going to creep up, for the sake of getting the crops in the shed. The message is to be careful with your drying.”

Oilseed rape yields, given earlier concerns over frost damage, were very good, and generally above average, with yields of 5-6t/ha (2-2.4t/acre) not uncommon, said Mr Neale.

“The frost wasn’t as big an issue as some would make out.”

Spring barley had also been pleasantly surprising, given the dry spring. “The chalk land in southern England is certainly delivering a better crop.”

Heavy, but well drained soils in Humberside and the west midlands had also performed better.

Mr Neale reckoned wheat harvest was about 30-35% complete, countrywide, ranging from finished to not yet started. “It’s very variable.”

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