UK: Barley yields up after later than usual harvest start, early rapeseed yields pleasing

FWi -- Early-cut winter barleys are said to be yielding well, but nitrogen contents are unusually low in a harvest starting up to 10 days later than usual in places.

One estimate was that no more than 5-10% of southern crops had been cut by the start of the week. But with a good forecast, albeit with showers towards the weekend, the picture could soon change, trade sources suggested.

Little oilseed rape had been gathered, timely desiccation often having been thwarted by rough weather. And despite the threat of more changeable weather for the first half of next week, growers were being urged not to rush to combine crops unfit with red seeds.

We're about a week away from getting a clear view on oilseed rape and winter barley, said Charlie Whitmarsh of Frontier Agriculture.

But we're encouraging people not to get into oilseed rape too early. There's a danger that we'll see a lot of red seed, which isn't good news for oil contents.

Early indications are of pretty good barley yields with nitrogens on the low side - a lot at 1.5-1.6 - which could mean wheat proteins will be down.

Grainfarmers' Paul Taylor echoed those barley comments, though few crops had been cut beyond the traditionally early areas, he noted.

Some six-row yields had disappointed, probably due to take-all, but two-rows were doing better.

Pearl and Flagon crops of 3t/acre are commonplace, said Mr Taylor. But we're seeing some very low Ns. I haven't heard of winter barleys below 1.6N for some time because people usually push them to the limit. Perhaps with the price of N [fertiliser] they've been holding back.

Oilseed rape yields were quite pleasing but not a lot's been done yet because some people couldn't get their desiccants on.

Stressing that oil content was mostly built towards the end of crop ripening, he said: Do let them senesce properly. It's money in your pocket.

Weald Granary's John Smith, anticipating a busy week, with more than 1000t of oilseed rape already delivered, said most members seemed happy with yields. Oil contents are slightly over 44%.

Camgrain manager Philip Darke confirmed N contents in first barleys were low, but most growers had only just begun cutting, he said.