Harvest-time rains, which have depressed the quality of
wheat in continental Europe, began to take their toll on the UK crop too –
although, on yield, the crop looks increasingly certain to set a record high.
Adas cautioned that the beginning of the second half of the
UK harvest, now 75% complete, had begun to reveal some of the quality problems
noted in France in particular, where moisture falling on ripe kernels
encouraged sprouting, rendering an unusually large proportion of grain fit only
"There are the first indications this week of quality
starting to deteriorate following the heavy rainfall of the last few weeks," the
crop consultancy said.
The average Hagberg falling number, in essence a measure of
sprouting, for the cumulative harvest had fallen to 284 seconds, down from 291
seconds as of a week ago.
"There are now
reports of some poorer quality grain in the South, where harvest has been
delayed by rain," Adas added.
Quality vs quantity
Nonetheless, quality issues remained limited and "only a
problem in crops where harvest has been delayed for some time," the consultancy
said in a weekly crop report.
"Where crops are only just ripe for harvest quality has been
And on quantity, the group raised to 8.3-8.6 tonnes per
hectare its estimate for the average yield, which has increased as farmers have
moved on from reaping milling wheat to harvesting lower value, but more
productive, feed wheat.
The UK, the European Union's third-ranked wheat producer, achieved
its current record wheat yield, of 8.3 tonnes per hectare, in 2008, with a
10-year average of 7.7 tonnes per hectare.
"Yield reports continue to be positive, with the majority of
farmers reporting yields above the farm average," Adas said, terming as "common"
results of 10 tonnes per hectare.
Spring barley upgrade
The consultancy also raised to 6.0-6.3 tonnes per hectare, from
5.9-6.1 tonnes per hectare, its assessment of the spring barley yield, again a
historically high result, and well above the average of 5.4 tonnes per hectare.
"Spring barley yields continue to be good, with an
increasing number of good yields reported from Scotland," Adas said.
And on quality, "most malting crops are achieving
specification," although the average nitrogen concentration for malting supplies,
at 1.5%, was up 0.2 points week on week.
Adas also cautioned that spring barley crops left to harvest
in the south of England "are showing increased levels of brackling," a buckling
in the lower parts of the stem, "and are becoming a priority to harvest to