22 August 1997


WHEAT yields and quality are down on last year, but views vary on the extent and significance of the outcome.

Wheat combining is nearly over in north Kent and the extreme south. "We have not heard too many complaints," says Gary Herman of Chichester-based Bartholomews. "If yields were poor we would have heard."

Later harvested crops are performing better than earlier cuts, reports Jonathan Hoyland of Banks Agriculture. "We have seen Rialto from West Berks on 3.5-3.7t/acre. But that is still 0.5t down on last year. By and large the quality is there in the south and Oxfordshire." Most Riband and Consort is above 74kg/hl and most hard feed types over 250 Hagberg.

Crops drying fast in the field, with moistures down to 11%, have helped preserve Hagbergs, suggests John Smith of Weald Granary. Specific weights averaging 75kg/hl are only two points behind last year. But Rialtos protein is a disappointing 9.4%, he notes. Barometer grower Bill Harbour reckons his Brigadier on good brick-earth at Gosmere Farm, Faversham, Kent should deliver over 10t/ha (4t/acre). "But that is not as good as last year due to a bushel weight of 75-76. Last year it was 77-81. The Bunting peas for seed did 1.7t/acre compared with 2t/acre last year."

With three days wheat combining left, output on Michael Rowlands mixed soils at Bowden Farm, Burbage, Wilts, is about 1t/ha (0.4t/acre) below last years "phenomenal" achievement. "Our yields are disappointing."

Lantra peas get experimental yield metering attention at Silsoe Research Institute. Farm manager, Steve Watson reports Riband wheat yield down 2.5t/ha on last year after rain came 14 days too late to save the crop.

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