MANY growers expect to finish winter wheat by the end of the week. Yields and quality vary a lot, according to soil type, crop management, variety and to some extent weather conditions.
Rialto and Riband wheats are doing well for barometer farmer Philip Godfrey. "We havent cut anything under 10t/ha so far, although laid Riband lost about 2.5t/ha." Rialto did up to 11t/ha last year. Quality is better than expected, with both varieties giving 11% protein, 80kg/hl specific weight and over 280 Hagberg.
Waldersley Farms has cut 400ha (1000 acres) of wheat on the Cambs/Norfolk borders and reports yields 0.5t/ha lower than last years record 10.5t/ha (4.25t/acre) average across a range of soil types.
"We are probably close to our five year average. Bushel weights are back a bit too – 75kg/hl for Brigadier on sand and the best Riband only doing 78," says Peter Tiggerdine.
Further west yields are down by around 1.25t/ha and quality very variable, says Richard Whitlock of Banks of Sandy. Proteins are 1% up on last year, specific weight varies widely, from 66-82kg/hl, and Hagbergs are holding up quite well.
In Suffolk, a bullish Simon Tubbs of Framlingham Farmers talks of good average yields with some over 10t/ha. Proteins range from 11-12% and Hagbergs are above 270. But quality is variable with a lot of shrivelled grains. "Few samples will win beauty contests this year," he says.
Philip Darke of Camgrain reports average yields with samples dirtier than recent years. "Hagbergs in Brigadier and Hereward are over 225 and Riband is coming in above 220, but we have seen some low figures in Rialto, down to 150."
In south Essex, Phil Cottis reckoned he would finish group I and II winter wheats on Thursday. Yields are 0.8t/ha lower than last year, but quality variable, with black point in Rialto and Hereward.
At Northfield Farm, Comberton, Cambs, great variation between fields is seeing Riband average 9.7t/ha (3.9t/acre) and Consort 9.5t/ha (3.8t/acre).
Wheat harvest is halfway through at Pursley Farm, Shenley, Herts. Riband, Consort and Hussar cut so far have produced a bright bold sample, says Jimmy Hunter.
Yields are slightly down on last year but higher than average. Hussar, grown as second wheat suffered some take-all but yielded 8.1t/ha (3.3t/acre) at 16% moisture. Riband at 13% moisture gave slightly less, but Consort is nudging 8.6t/ha (3.5t/acre), he estimates.
• ADAS is bucking the trend at Boxworth, Cambs. It reports winter wheat yields are averaging 8.76t/ha (3.54t/acre) at the halfway mark, 6% up on last year, though specific weights are poorer.