Wheat variable in central England

Harvest progress is proving extremely variable in central England, with some farmers finishing their wheat while others have scarcely started.

Masstock agronomist, Andrew Richards, said most farmers had finished combining oilseed rape and spring barley in and around Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire.

And many of those on lighter land had also finished wheat. But on the heavier land farmers were still trying to harvest second wheats, and were yet to start on first wheat.

“The rain, which has been torrential in places, has prevented many people harvesting much since Monday (9 August), although it seems to be very localised.”

Overall, about 25-30% of the wheat had been cut, he said.

“The crop of the year is undoubtedly oilseed rape, with Excalibur and DK Cabernet the pick of the varieties, albeit with very different harvesting times.”

In the main, most rapeseed crops were planted early enough into good seedbeds last year, which was behind the decent yields, he added.

“Most people are pleased with their spring barley at around 6-6.2 t/ha (2.4-2.5t/acre), mainly because with so little rain until the start of harvest they really weren’t expecting much.” 

But wheat yields were all over the place, with some heavy land crops doing almost 10t/ha (4t/acre) and those on light land struggling to reach 7.5t/ha (3t/acre).

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