Wheat starts in S &E

2 August 2002

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NEARLY 70% of winter oilseed rape had been harvested by Tuesday in the south, with yields up to 5.4t/ha (2.3t/acre) reported. Harvest coverage continues overleaf. &#42

only a few pockets still to do, notably in the south-west where high humidity and sea mist delayed some crops. Yields continue to delight, some reporting up to 5.4t/ha (2.2t/acre). Winter barley was 60% cleared earlier this week with yield and quality very variable; Specific weights as low as 55kg/hl, nitrogens 1.4%-2.2%, and yields 4.9-8.6t/ha (2-3.5t/acre). Wheat is just starting, with encouraging reports, but early oat reports are not promising due to screenings, low specific weight, and low yield.

Wheat starts in S &E

WHEAT harvest was under way in the south and the east last weekend with farmers reportedly pleased with the results.

With only a "thimbleful" of samples seen by Tuesday, Chichester-based Bartholomews Richard Wright was encouraged by the Soissons sample sent in by Andrew Loughan, arable manager for Langmead Farms, Sussex.

From the first 10ha of a 150ha crop near Petworth it offset a couple of samples taken a week earlier which had been disappointing with small grains and low protein, says Mr Wright.

"The market will stand or fall on quality this year and it is still holding its breath."

Mr Loghans first impression that the crop, off free-draining sandy land, was "not too bad" was confirmed with protein registering 13.8% and specific weight at 82kg/hl. "We have never had over 80 before," he says.

At 14.2% moisture the second slot crop delivered 8.7t/ha (3.5t/acre). "Thats hard to compare with other years because we dont generally grow many second wheats."

Near Lewes, William Greenwoods first Soissons off chalk after oilseed rape yielded about 8t/ha (3.25t/acre) – much as expected. "Unfortunately the protein is only 12.5-13%, but I am hoping for better off our heavier land."

For an early cut off light land, the similar yield achieved from Sept-sown Soissons after set-aside at Hollis Farm, Wereham, Norfolk last week is acceptable, says owner and contractor Paul Carter. "We normally reckon to average 3.75." No quality figures have yet been carried out, but he hopes late foliar urea will have ensured good protein. &#42

Harvest hits our lead page this week with early wheat reports. But many still have winter barley and oilseed rape to clear. Why not let us know how your crops are performing? Phone 0208 652 2080, fax 0208 652 4005 or e-mail: chris.horn@rbi.co.uk

A lesson for the mass market brewers? North Norfolk grower Teddy Maufe (left) thinks so, seen here enjoying a pint of Wherry with his eventual customer Mike Betts of Woodfordes brewery, Norwich. The sign aims to educate passers-by that malting barley is grown to produce beer, adds Mr Maufe. "Im fed up with our B&B guests not making the link between our malting crops and their favourite drink."

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