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Wheat quality better than yield


Growers are reporting concerns over wheat yields, despite quality being ‘better than expected’ as harvest nears completion in parts of southern England.

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Cambridgeshire farmer, Robert Law says harvest is nearly complete. “We should be cleaned up by the bank holiday. Wheat quality has been good but yields not exceptional. It has yielded between 9.2t/ha and 10.8t/ha with bushel weights from 77-81kg/hl.


See also: Harvest Gallery 2016 - How’s your harvest going? #MyFGHarvest


“The best spring barley has done 7.3t/ha while oats have been very disappointing this year at around 6t/ha.”


Kent grower, Andrew Barr agrees that while wheat quality is good, yields are disappointing. “Yields are certainly well down on the last couple of years, probably by 10 per cent.”


Cambridgeshire farmer and Agrii technical manager, David Felce says: “It has been okay quality and quite good yields – good to average depending on the level of black-grass. Wheats are down on last year and down on the rolling average.


“We grew Skyfall as a second wheat which yielded 9.5-9.6t/ha. Proteins were good – in the 13 per cents and hagbergs between 79 and 80.


“Spring barley has fared better than winter barley. It was a bit later flowering than winter barley and escaped some of the worse weather winter barley was subjected to.”


Further west growers are reporting large variation in wheat yields.


Worcestershire grower, Jim Bullock says: “The poorest wheats have hardly scraped 6.75t/ha but better crops have hit 7.5 to 8 t/ha. Many of our crops did not like having wet feet all winter, combined with BYDV and of course the dreaded black-grass.


“I have noticed that as we are drilling later, to combat black-grass, a part of a field planted with the spring variety Tybalt, out-yielded the winter variety JB Diego, by quite a margin. So I am wondering when drilling later, whether we need to re-visit the varieties we are growing.”


See also: Will you be planting oilseed rape for harvest 2017?


Meanwhile northwards, Yorkshire farmer David Blacker says he is relieved not to have grown winter barley this season since yields in the area have been down at 6-8t/ha (2.4-3.2t/acre).


Similarly, oilseed rape (OSR) yields have been poor: “The less said about rape the better, I put a topper through 20 acres that wasn’t worth cutting. Where it was good, yields were around 2.8t/ha.


“Wheats are all over the place. Where crops are good they are good. Free draining land is doing well at 9-12t/ha, but heavy clays that stood saturated through winter are only doing 4-6t/ha bringing the average to about 7t/ha.”


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