The UK harvest progress is back at average levels for this stage of August, despite the very early start, after persistent wet weather held back cutting from mid-July.
ADAS estimates that 930,000 hectares of cereals and oilseeds were cleared in the week ended August 16th, the highest rate of harvesting so far in 2017 and more than double the area harvested in the previous week. This means progress is back line with the five-year average, with some 1.8 million ha of combinable crops now cut.
The company thinks that the winter barley harvest was 95% complete and winter oilseed rape 90% complete by August 16th, with only small areas left to harvest in northern England and Scotland. “Reported yields of winter barley and winter oilseed rape continue to be variable and are often lower than the farm average.”
Around 700,000ha or 40% of the winter wheat area had been cut by the same time. ADAS reports that early wheat yields are typically close to average, with the majority of wheat crops analysed so far meeting specification. About 50,000ha of winter oats or 40% of the planted area had been harvested.
The spring barley harvest is underway in some regions of England, with some 115,000ha or 20% now combined. First reports are of yields close to or just above average.
Wheat quality data is mainly based on samples from the south and east of the UK that have been moved off farm, and may not be representative of the whole country, cautions ADAS. But these results are showing specific weights averaging 76 kg/hl, with a range of 68-82 kg/hl (milling crops typically 77-80 kg/hl and feed varieties 74-77 kg/hl). Proteins are averaging 12.8% with a range of 11.3-14%, while most milling samples have a Hagberg over 300 seconds. The average moisture content for the week is 14% with some samples up to 19%.
“There have been some reports of discolouration -light grey colouring – in wheat grain,” says ADAS. “Nonetheless, to date (16 August) this has only affected a small number of samples and it is still too early on in the harvest to see if this is a widespread issue.”