Wheat yields below average, says HGCA

Farmers have cut almost half the UK’s winter wheat crop, and although yields are below average, early quality is good, according to the HGCA.

“Yields are improving as more crops are harvested, but are still below the five- year average at 7.3-7.7t/ha (3-3.1t/acre),” said its latest report.

Average sample results were good at 78-80kg/hl, 275 to >300 Hagberg, and 12.5-13.5% protein.

The most progress had been made in southern, central and eastern England, with crops further north and west only just ripe.

“Early harvested crops on light land in the Eastern region reported yields that were particularly poor, some dropping as low as 2-4t/ha (0.8-1.6t/acre).

“However, on heavier soils yields have been better at 6.5-8.5t/ha (2.6-3.4t/acre), with a number of reports of 11-13t/ha crops (4.5-5.3t/acre)”

Winter barley harvest was 95% complete, with just small areas left to cut in Scotland and northern England.

“Yields are very variable, ranging from 2-9.5t/ha (0.8-3.8t/acre), but on average are around 6-10% lower than the five year average at 6-6.2t/ha (2.4-2.5t/acre).

“Quality is mixed, with specific weights averaging 64-70kg/hl, but malting nitrogen levels often high, ranging from 1.6-2%. Screenings have also been high at up to 7%.”

Farmers had cut about 35% of spring barley in England and Wales, or 20% of the total UK area, said the report.

Most early crops had been in the East, and were therefore badly affected by the dry spring, with early yield indications below average at 4.8-5t/ha (1.9-2t/acre).

Quality was reasonable, at 64-68kg/hl, 1.6-1.9% nitrogen, and 1-6% screenings.

Winter oilseed rape harvest was about 90% done, with yields above average at 3.6-3.8t/ha (1.4-1.5t/acre). “Early oil content reports are ranging from 43-46%.”

Farmers had also cut about 35% of their oats, with yields about average at 5.6-5.8t/ha (2.3-2.4t/acre) and good specific weights of 50-52kg/hl.

“Only winter varieties have been harvested so far; when the harvest of spring oats starts it is likely that this average will be affected.”

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