By Vicky Houchin
VIRTUALLY every sector of farming has been hit by reduced incomes over the past year. And, although some sectors – like the milk industry – have enjoyed good prices at some time, many – for example, pig farmers – are now facing bankruptcy.
“There is a need for us to stick together,” said Tony Taylor, managing director of Dalgety, at the companys annual cereal quality and export harvests review today (Thursday). “Keep Britain Farming, and in order to do this we must all play our part.”
Commercial manager Trevor Harriman reported good wheat harvests so far, without the horror stories of 1997. Only one area has given concern to date, and that is the south west where both yield and quality seem to have suffered.
A national average of 7.8 tonnes per hectare has been seen, higher than both last years figure and the five-year average.
The quality of this years milling wheat looks to be excellent, with most samples meeting the full milling wheat specification, commented crop marketing development manager Gary Hutchins, “although, perhaps not surprisingly, given the better yields, the proteins tend to be lower than last year, with the most noticeable shortfall in the newer variety Charger.”
On average, Group 1 and 2 proteins are 0.2% and 0.4% down, respectively. Bushel weights are in some cases 4kg/hl up on 1997. While hagbergs are slightly down on last year, most are above the minimum 250 required for full milling specification.
The quality of feed wheat when measured by bushel weight is better than 1997 and, in the case of the north, dramatically better. Again, the south west has been the exception, catching the really wet weather of June and July.
Specifically, the bushel weight improvement ranges from 1kg/hl in the south to over 5kg/hl in the midlands and the north. “This is an improvement on last year as all regions will largely be able to achieve the feed wheat minimum bushel weight specification of 72kg/hl, and in many cases the 76kg/hl and 225 hagberg required for third-country exports,” said Mr Hutchins.