West: Deben, Einstein and Gatsby record high yields

At the time of writing there is still a significantacreage of wheatunharvested, some oats still to cut and mostof the bean crop still out in the field and the weather pattern isvery reminiscent of last year.

We are, however, further on with theharvest than we were this time last year and at the momentthere is no widespread sprouting of grain, as occurred last year.Those crops that have been harvested have by and large performedahead of expectation, especially when you recall how thin andstressed most crops were last winter.

The wheats, in particular, have been performing well, despitehaving looked decidedly average right up to the point of harvest.The high yields are in part down to very high specific weights,with some crops being in the mid to high 80s kg/hl. Some of theolder varieties have shown well this year with Deben, Einstein andGatsby recording some very high yields.

Lear has yielded exceptionally well and stood well despite apoor rating for standing ability. It showed outstanding resistanceto septoria throughout the season.

The oilseed rape harvest was average but this does not tell thewhole story as most crops had parts of fields growing nothing atall. The rape has to have yielded well in those parts of fieldsthat did have crop.

The winter barley harvest has been a bit variable but thequality good. The lower-yielding crops were as a result of aweather-delayed harvest and had significant levels of ear loss,which reduced the yield.

Spring barley is yielding well, with Doyen and Quench leadingthe pack. Westminster is performing well but has been challenged onits standing ability this year.

Next years’ rape crop is being drilled at present and willreceive a pre-emergence herbicide and an application of slugpellets immediately after drilling is completed. With the currentwet soil conditions, it will be crucial for growers to monitor theemerging rape crop for ongoing slug damage as this pest can wipeout a rape crop in days.

With a better weather forecast for the next fortnight, I hopethat the harvest will be completed without any further delay andthat quality will not have been compromised by the delays sofar.

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