The 2018 GB harvest progress remained ahead of the previous 5 years. Yields were better than expected given the hot, dry conditions during grain fill, although lower than previous years at 7.8-7.9 t/ha and 5.0-6.0 t/ha for winter and spring wheat respectively. (https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/markets/market-news/2018/september/28/gb-harvest-progress-2018-report-6.aspx). Unsurprisingly, better yields have been seen on heavier soils where moisture retention was higher.
With the harvest now over for another year, analysis of late harvest samples is complete and we are able to provide our final report on the 2018 wheat and barley harvest. Summary tables of the nutritional value of wheat and barley can be found at the end of this report.
After initial results at the start of harvest suggesting an increase in protein content, average protein levels have slightly decreased by 0.2% to 11.1% (when corrected to 13.5% moisture), as reported in our interim report and shown in Figure 1.
Although results show an overall average decrease in protein, there is significant regional variation as shown in Table 1. with Eastern and Western regions showing an increase of 0.4%. Compared to last year the range of protein results has been greater with results as low as 8.3% in the NW/NE to 13.4% in the West.
Moisture results as low as 10.6% were reported during the first part of the harvest when weather was hot and dry. In comparison, the latter part of the harvest bought heavy rainfall across many regions and as a result, moisture levels as high as 16.4% were reported in the East. Overall average moisture results are 1.1% lower than last year, at 12.8%.
Average energy has not changed since our interim report and at 12.98 MJ/kg when corrected to 13.5% moisture is equivalent to last year as shown in Table 2.
Yields of winter barley are comparable to the GB five year average at 6.9 t/ha although, like wheat yields, results have been variable across regions and largely dependent on soil type. Yields of spring barley are estimated at 5.2-5.3 t/ha which is below the five year average of 5.8 t/ha (https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/markets/market-news/2018/september/28/gb-harvest-progress-2018-report-6.aspx).
Results of barley samples submitted for our survey indicate a slight decrease in protein of -0.2% to 10% although large regional differences have been seen with samples from the central regions averaging 11.3% and northern regions averaging 9.6% as shown in the summary table at the end of this report. When corrected to standard moisture (13.5%), energy values show an increase of +0.05 MJ/kg. However due to the relatively smaller sample set for barley compared to wheat these results should be interpreted with a degree of caution.
Current reports indicate both DON and zearalenone in wheat levels remain low. For barley, DON levels are low with patches of elevated zearalenone levels distributed across the country.
The considerable variability of results observed within our sample set highlights the need for on-going local analysis to ensure that the most reliable information is used when updating matrix values. In particular low moisture content seen in many samples will have a direct impact on nutrient values and local matrix values should be adjusted accordingly.
Finally, we would like to acknowledge the support of our customers for providing the samples that form the basis of this survey.