10 September 1998
Dalgety predicts second-biggest wheat harvest ever
By Robert Harris
UK wheat output this year will be the second biggest on record, predicts national merchant Dalgety.
The findings suggest total tonnage will reach 15.95m tonnes – almost 1m tonnes more than last year – and are based on a survey of 1000 farms across the UK.
Dalgety puts barley output at 7.23m tonnes and oats at 600,000t, making a total cereal harvest of 23.48m tonnes. The forecast allows for the fact that about 20% of the wheat crop remains uncut in the north and Scotland.
Previous Dalgety estimates have almost exactly matched official ministry figures, released five months later.
Average yield is put at 7.8t/ha (3.15t/acre). Quality is much better than last year and good grain can be found in all areas where wheat has been cleared.
“The south has not done so well, but the north has done better. Feed wheat bushel weights are averaging about 74kg/hl and nearly all milling wheats have achieved specification,” said Dalgety commercial manager Trevor Harriman.
Exportable surplus is reckoned to be 4.25m tonnes. Good quality, and the fact that UK prices are already competitive with France (trading at about a £4/t discount), bodes well for exports, he says.
“We can already pencil in about 3m tonnes of business with Europe, twice as much as we could at this time last year.