Early combining helps Hagbergs

6 July 2001

Early combining helps Hagbergs

WHEAT Hagbergs depend on the weather, but the chances of harvesting grain of acceptable quality can be boosted by combining early. And to minimise the risk of trouble, varieties should be chosen with care, says Peter Kettlewell of Harper Adams University College

Growers who have invested much money producing milling samples must maintain Hagbergs in the run up to harvest, he warns.

"This is when they are most vulnerable so an early harvest is important with milling wheat given combine priority. The longer the crop has to wait the greater the risk of Hagbergs falling when it rains.

"They reach a peak, then dormancy breaks and rain triggers germination. In just a few days they can collapse from over 250 to below 200, so it is always a race between harvesting and the weather."

UK Hagbergs drop to below 250 about one year in three, and fall to under 200 one year in seven. The last bad year was 1999.

To maximise the chances of achieving milling specifications a variety with good Hagberg potential and sprouting resistance is required. Spreading sowing dates so not all crops are at the same stage of development when the weather turns bad can reduce risks.

Good standing power is useful because grain in lodged wheat is slow to dry and prone to steep Hagberg degradation.

A pre-harvest desiccant can speed maturity and even-up ripening. The treatment is very useful if there are many late tillers reluctant to mature, says Dr Kettlewell. &#42

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