8 August 1997


LITTLE wheat, apart from Soissons, has been harvested in the south, but early signs are that yields could be as encouraging as those from oilseed rape.

Nicholas Tapp began cutting winter wheat at St Nicholas Court Farms, Thanet, on July 29. A quarter of the way through the 440ha (1090 acres), second and third crop Beaufort has given 10.3t/ha (4.2t/ acre) at 80-81kg/hl specific weight, he reports. "Reaper is well over 10t." Beaver with a specific weight of 83kg/hl suggests quality should not be a problem, but Hagbergs have yet to be measured.

"To date it looks like we could be heading for a record. I just wish it was worth something."

Oilseed rape and peas have done exceptionally well given the apparently bad season, he adds. "Amber and Express rape have done 4.8t/ ha but the Inca only 3.9. Our average last year at 4.1 was the best for some time. It is a mystery where it all came from this year because it looked so awful earlier on."

With many combines on hold over the weekend Peter Fox took advantage of a weather window premium of £27/t over feed for 11% protein Hereward breadmaking wheat yielding about 8.6t/ha (3.5t/acre) at Haines Hill Estate, Twyford, Berks. The result partly compensates for poor Pastoral winter barley results caused by drought and frost. "Our Soissons did 3t/ acre at 11.5% protein no trouble."

Tom Forsyth of R Sternberg Farms, Tenterden, Kent, reports early Riband at 9.97t/ha (4t/acre) corrected to 15% moisture, on a par with last year. "But the bushel weight is not very good. There are a few shrivelled grains."

Wheat will follow on from winter linseed and peas if the weather holds at Gosmere Farm, Faversham, for barometer grower Bill Harbour.

Synergy oilseed rape, at about 4.9t/ha (2t/acre) giving 0.5t/ha (0.2t/acre) more than last year, outyielded Arietta and Apex, which averaged 4.5t/ha (1.8t/acre). But the mean was pulled down by a 27ha (67-acre) field of Amber and Capitol which produced only 74t after being hit by dry seed-bed, flea beetles and pigeons.

"You cant blame the varieties. In general it has run very well," says Mr Harbour.

See more