22 August 1997


FUSARIUM is being blamed by growers for the disappointing winter wheat yields across the east midlands.

Barometer grower Justin Blackwood, of Great Brington, Northants, says yields are 1.2t/ha (0.5t/acre) down on last year, with fusarium causing small, shrivelled grains. Brigadier has yielded 8.2t/ha (3.3t/acre) and Soissons was doing 7.5t/ha (3t/acre) earlier this week.

Andy Bury, grain marketing manager of Cargill in Lincolnshire, believes 40% of the wheat harvest has been completed. He predicts most wheat will be done this week.

"There is a lot of variability in the first samples," he points out. "Yields are 7-8.4t/ha, with early wheats on droughted land most disappointing. Bushel weights are not too bad at 75-76kg/hl, but neither yields nor quality are as good as last year. After April drought and wet weather in June and July it is a reasonable crop."

At Rockingham Castle Farms, Market Harborough, manager Ray Dalton has completed 120ha (300 acres) of Reaper with a yield monitoring combine. "Yield was 7.5-8.9t/ha, with bushel weight 69-72kg/hl, so the results are very variable, mainly due to fusarium and sooty moulds."

Gary Sharkey of BDR Agri-culture says the quality of biscuit and feed wheats is sliding, with some struggling to make 71kg/hl. Class 1 and 2 milling wheats are fine, although screenings are higher than usual.

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