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Wheat harvest nearing completion but showers put brakes on

GB winter wheat harvest is now 80% complete, with harvest progressing rapidly during the first half of w/e August 14 with ~412Kha cut during the first part of the week, but in most regions heavy rain halted harvest from August 9 onwards, according to the latest ADAS/AHDB harvest report.


Marianne   Curtis

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Marianne   Curtis
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Progress continues to be ahead of the last five harvests, with harvest at this stage in 2014 at 55% complete.

 

Winter wheat harvest is drawing to a close in southern England, with 99% of crops harvested in the South East along with 93% of crops in the South West. Good progress has also been made in the West Midlands with 93% of crops harvested. Elsewhere, 89% of crops have been cut in the Eastern region along with 85% in the East Midlands.

 

Further north, 80% of the wheat area has been harvested in the North West and 72% in the North East. There has been less progress in Yorkshire & Humberside (59% harvested), Wales (50% harvested) and in Scotland where 26% of winter wheat has now been cut, according to the report.

Yields

 

The current national average estimated wheat yield is 7.7-8.0t/ha (adjusted to 14.5% moisture), which is below the GB 5-year average yield for wheat (8.2t/ha). However, yields remain highly variable, with a range of up to 7t/ha between fields on the same farm. Across GB, farm yields continue to range from 2.5t/ha on the lightest land, through to 15.0t/ha on a silt soil in Lincolnshire, says the report.

 

As with last week, coastal areas that benefited from slightly lower temperatures and a little more rainfall earlier in the season are producing slightly better yields than more central locations. Light lands have continued to provide lower yields - typically 7.5t/ha, although dropping to 2.5-5.0t/ha on the lightest land. Heavier land, which has held moisture longer, is typically yielding 7.5-8.2t/ha, with occasional crops yielding 11.5+t/ha, say ADAS/AHDB.


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Wheat quality

The quality specification for high quality bread wheat (Group 1) is specific weight ≥ 76kg/hl, Hagberg falling number (HFN) ≥ 250 seconds, protein ≥13%. The requirements for medium quality bread wheat (Groups 1 & 2) are specific weight ≥ 74kg/hl, HFN ≥ 180 seconds and protein ≥ 11.5%.

 

Winter wheat quality continues to meet specification, with the clear dry conditions during harvest meaning that crops continue to be harvested when ripe. Recent rain has yet to have an impact on quality. Mycotoxin levels also remain low. Protein levels are adequate or slightly elevated, says the report.

  • Specific weight – average 76kg/hl (typical range 73-78kg/hl). Specific weights are variable with light land crops dropping to 70kg/hl, whilst some crops on heavier land have had specific weights up to 80kg/hl.
  • Hagberg Falling Number – typically HFNs are >300 seconds.
  • Grain protein – variable. Typically, 12.4-13.5%, although on occasional crops there continue to be reports of up to 15.0%.
  • Moisture – minimal drying required in most English regions, but 15-20% of crops have required drying in Scotland, due to higher moisture levels. In first half of WE 14/08, the dry conditions at harvest have meant that grain continued to come in at moisture levels below 14.5%. Therefore, driers have not been needed, apart from to blow cool air through hot grain to help the cooling process. The low moisture content of grain at harvest is a challenge for some end users, it also means that yields will be slightly lower than normal due to the lower moisture content of the grain, according to the report.
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