Winter barley yields appeared to be above Frontier’s three-year average, and quality was good, according to the firm’s seeds director Charlie Whitmarsh. “That’s the indication we’re getting from our trials and samples coming in.”
Performance did depend on soil type however, he pointed out. “Some crops have burnt off quite quickly in places, resulting in thinner grains.”
The hot weather was putting spring barleys under immense pressure however. “The problem is it’s dying rather than senescing. I think some will end up a bit thin.”
Only a small amount of oilseed rape had been cut so far, with growers likely to really get started in the next couple of days [19 & 20 July]. “I’m hearing yields have been average. Part of the problem is it is so dry. I’ve heard moisture contents of 6-6.5%, which is not good news.
“It can create problems for the crushers, and also for growers farm-saving seed,” he said.
Very low moisture content grain was liable to suffer from splitting, he explained. “Chemical seed treatments can then be absorbed into the growing point of the seed [creating problems with germination].”
The germination of “badly cooked seeds” would also need to be looked at carefully, he suggested.
But the current hot spell shouldn’t be damaging wheats too much, he believed. “The damage was probably dome three weeks ago. I’m not sure the hot weather now will be having much affect. It might actually be more of a problem if it turns wet now.”
Wheat harvest could start in some places as early as the end of this week. “There will probably be the odd bits cut by then, but the majority won’t be until the end of the month and into August.”