UK wheat harvest in contention for record yield

The UK wheat crop is a contender for setting a yield record, although low protein is still marring a strong picture overall on quality, with the spring barley crop potentially setting an all-time high too.

With the UK wheat harvest 30% complete, the yield is showing at a level of 8.0-8.2 tonnes per hectare, Adas said, placing its first figure on this year's result.

"Early yields are good with plenty of high yielding crops reported," the consultancy said, adding that most crops are "yielding above the farm average".

In fact, the yield range so far is well above the UK average of 7.7 tonnes per hectare, and within sight of the record 8.3 tonnes per hectare set in 2008.

The second-best result was achieved in 1996, at 8.2 tonnes per hectare, according to data from Defra, the UK farm ministry.

'Clean and bright'

"Yields range from 3.7 tonnes per hectare for crops on poorly drained heavy land that sat wet over winter to above 13.0 tonnes per hectare for early-established first wheats with good disease and weed control," Adas said.

And on most quality specifications, the crop is coming in well too, with the UK weather, until the last week, going largely without the harvest-time rains which have spoiled crops elsewhere in Europe.

"Samples to date are clean and bright, with good specific weights and Hagberg numbers," the consultancy said, Hagberg being a measure of the sprouting which has been a particular problem in France, as underlined separately on Thursday by Strategie Grains, the Paris-based analysis group.

The UK crop's Hagberg number, coming in at 295 seconds, within a range of 250-400 seconds, is well above the levels of 180 seconds or seen in perhaps one-third of French wheat, according to trade estimates.

Protein reading

However, Adas restated that UK wheat protein levels, coming in at 9.0-13.5%, with an average of 12%, remained depressed.

"In a good number of milling samples, grain protein is lower than ideal."

The group also cautioned that its data excluded much wheat harvested since weekend rains, which at one part of Cambridgeshire, in the UK's eastern wheat belt, landed 106mm (4 inches) of rain on Friday alone.

The total area of grains harvested in the last week, at 320,000 hectares, was half that in the previous seven days.

'Yields are promising'

Adas also, in its first number for the UK spring barley result, set the scene for what could be a record-yielding crop, coming in at 5.9-6.1 tonnes per hectare so far.

That is a figure more typically seen in winter barley, and is well above the average result of 5.4 tonnes per hectare for spring crop.

"Yields to date are promising, and crops are yielding above farm average," the group saiad if adding that the data includes "very little barley from Scotland, and as a result there remains uncertainty over the final figure".

The US Department of Agriculture on Tuesday, in monthly world crop data, nudged higher by 0.05 tonnes per hectare to 7.75 tonnes per hectare its forecast for the UK wheat yield this year, pegging the harvest at 15.4m tonnes.

Agricultural Commodities
Agricultural Markets
Agricultural Companies
Agricultural Events