22 August 1997


BETTER than expected milling wheats and good spring barley samples are offsetting growers earlier disappointment with winter barley quality.

Merchants say most milling wheat samples are pinched, with specific weights down to 74kg/hl. But colour is generally good, proteins high and Hagbergs 250-350, so samples will be taken, even if at a discount.

Kim Wells of Acorn Arable, Droitwich, Worcs, has been offered first class feed wheat and Chariot spring barley. "While high nitrogens, split grains and excessive screenings mean only one winter barley in 10 is acceptable for malting, most of the Chariot is around 1.7N and will meet specifications."

Tony Thomas at Pancross Farm, Glamorgan, harvested Hereward at 10.5t/ha (4.2t/acre) with an outstanding sample, including a specific weight of 80kg/hl. Rialto gave 9.8t/ha (3.4t/acre), but with lower quality. At Gaydon Hill Farm, Gaydon, Warks, first wheat Hereward yielded only 8t/ha (3.2t/acre) after attack last autumn by an unidentified pest. But grower David Bright-man says less in store is more than made up for by superb quality.

Despite losing a day of harvesting after rain, barometer growers Andrew and Tony Symonds should finish feed wheats at Stourport-on-Severn by the weekend. "Weather-wise this is turning out to be one of the best harvests for some years," Andrew Symonds admits.

Winter wheats are averaging 8.6t/ha (3.5t/acre), with Reaper outstanding at 9.4t/ha (3.8t/acre). Brigadier has produced more shrivelled grain than any other variety. "We were not intending to grow it again anyway."

See more