Wheat in ear four weeks early

Warm weather and lack of rain are believed to have caused wheat to burst into ear four weeks early.

This field of Gallant winter wheat was drilled on 22 September in Hertfordshire, according to a caption accompanying a photo of the crop posted on Twitter.The photo is blurred, but ears of wheat can be made out. Other fields of the same variety in the area were not yet in ear, said the farmer in question, who asked to remain anonymous.

The news comes as Met Office forecasters predict that a dry spell lasting almost two months in some areas is finally set to end.

Much of England can expect unsettled weather, with heavy showers on Saturday (7 May), although it will remain very warm in southeast England.

Rain overnight will clear to fresher conditions during Sunday (8 May), with sunshine and heavy showers for Monday.

Farmers across East Anglia have been irrigating cereal crops as they battle near drought conditions.

It follows provisional Met Office figures indicating that last month was the warmest April on record, with some UK areas 3-5°C warmer than normal.

This spring has also seen the eleventh driest April in the UK, according to the same records, which stretch back to 1910.

The UK average temperature was 10.7C, exceeding the previous warmest April on record, at 10.2C, in 2007.

Warm weather was accompanied by mainly dry conditions. The UK average rainfall total for April was 36.7mm – 52% of the long-term average.

Parts of south and eastern England received less than 10% of normal April rainfall, although parts of Scotland saw 110% of normal April rainfall.

The dry April for many follows a dry March, when less than half of the normal rainfall fell across the UK, also followed by a drier than average winter.

Met Office experts said the dry weather during April has been largely caused by “blocked” weather patterns across the UK.

This weather pattern had prevented the usual run of westerly winds off the Atlantic Ocean, which bring rain-bearing fronts.


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