UK cereal harvest kicks off

The UK cereal harvest has kicked off this week with winter barley being cut in several areas. With crops ready in many areas, it’s just a matter of getting the weather to get on with it, says the Farmer's Guardian.

Some growers have made a start in the south west, according to Owen Cligg, trading director at farmer-owned business Wessex Grain, based in Somerset: “We’ve had a bit of barley offered to us from Dorset,” he said. “And we did hear of some cut in Somerset for own use.” However, rain has held up progress. “Feed barley would have been ready last week, but the rain kept it off,” said Mr Cligg.

Martin Cook trader at Grainfarmers in Cheltenham reported a slow start. Growers in the area were 'just nibbling at a bit of barley'. “They’ll get going at the end of the week if the weather stays fine,” he said.

In Germany, about 40 per cent of the barley harvest is complete, but yields are reported to be highly variable, ranging from five tonnes per hectare in the west to eight tonnes in the east. The wheat harvest is likely to begin next week.

"Harvest is not in full-swing everywhere, but it is underway in many places," said a Paris-based dealer. "Quantities will be there, but so far quality is hit or miss."About 80% of the French winter barley crop has now been harvested with farmers quickly turning to rapeseed and milling wheat, according to the dealer.

The dealer added that so far quality in southern Italy had been good, but is much more variable in the North.Export business remains quiet and there has been some local price pressure in parts of southern Europe due to some supplies of Black Sea wheat coming in.Egypt bought 240,000 tons of wheat Tuesday, but the optional origins didn't include E.U. wheat.

In Poland, total cereal production at 25.5 million tonnes is forecast to be at least 1.7 million tonnes lower than last year. Good progress has been made in Hungary and Romania, but there are some concerns over grain quality.