The UK cereals crop has defied a dismal start to the growing season by showing above-average yields from the early harvest, although its it not clear yet that rapeseed survived the poor conditions so well.
Early-harvested winter wheat has shown an average yield of 7.8 tonnes per hectare so far, a little above the five-year average, with 10 tonnes per hectare recorded from the "best land", crop consultancy Adas said.
On winter oats, early yield figures "show most of the crops harvested to date have yielded better than the farm average".
And the winter barley yield has averaged 6.8 tonnes per hectare so far, comfortably above the average of 6.4 tonnes per hectare, with some fields coming off at 11.8 tonnes per hectare.
On quality, the crop looks decent too, with nitrogen levels in malting grain "good", at 1.4-1.7%, "good "specific weights, at 64-70 kilogrammes per hectolitre, and low screenings, with 2-4% of kernels deemed unsatisfactorily small.
Separately, flour mills have reported early milling wheat deliveries coming in above average specific weights, adequate protein levels and strong Hagberg falling numbers, Agrimoney.com has heard.
'Not affected by saturated soils'
The results are significantly better than farmers had hoped for early in the growing season, which was marked by persistent rains, which hampered autumn sowings and encouraged plagues of slugs, followed by an unusually cold start to spring.
However, Adas cautioned against taking too much stock from this early data.
The barley results, from the first one-third of the harvest, "may reflect the harvesting of crops on lighter, free draining soils," the consultancy said.
"These crops established well in the autumn and were not affected by saturated soils and slugs to the same extent as crops on heavier soils."
The winter wheat result came from less than 1% of the total UK area - and largely from the east, where yields tend to be a little over the average - meaning the results so far " are not expected to be representative".
For winter rapeseed, the first 10% of the harvest had shown a yield of 3.4 tonnes per hectare, a little below the average rate.
And this was largely from farms in the east of England, where yields are typically a touch above the UK average, besides being from crops which might be expected to be higher yielding.
"The early harvest has been dominated by crops that were drilled early and established well and have generally yielded well, often above the farm average, but these are not representative," Adas said