Catchy weather is leading to increasing concern about wheat crop quality with fears of germination in the ear and falling Hagbergs if it continues.
Phil Meadley, who farms near Driffield, East Yorkshire, has so far harvested four hectares of wheat, with 68ha to go including 40ha of spring wheat. “It was the only field drilled in September. It has done 10t/ha and we are waiting for the sample result. It is Gleam, a Group 4 but biscuit quality and looks a nice sample. I think it will be a reasonable bushel weight and hope the Hagberg is ok.”
But there is more rain in the forecast and warm and humid conditions create ideal conditions for wheat to germinate in the ear, says Mr Meadley. “We sprayed the spring wheat off a week since but we need to get the 70 acres of winter wheat in the shed.”
Spring barley has also received a low rate of glyphosate. “Spring barley harvest is about 14 days away - maybe a little bit longer.”
NIAB TAG Northern regional agronomist Patrick Stephenson says about 20 per cent of wheat is cut in his area and 5-10 per cent of spring barley. “It is very frustrating weather – very unsettled. But for wheat that has already been cut the quality is surprisingly good.”
Wheat drilled before September 20 has yielded reasonably well at 10-11 tonnes/ha, however, yields from crops cut so far range from this level down to 5t/ha, says Mr Stephenson. While Hagbergs were around 300s with earliest cut wheat, he expects these to slip. “We are hoping secondary sprouting will not happen but in seven to 10 days we could start to see this because of the drying, wetting, drying, wetting scenario. Wheat is a concern.”
Alex Waugh, director general of nabim says wheat sample results have been slow to come in this year. “They are running behind normal. I think it is partly to do with COVID-19 and less ability for merchants to go on farm and take samples.
“From what we have seen, early cut crops are broadly ok. The proteins are a bit down but it is a small proportion of the total. We are waiting for more results, hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.”