The 2019 GB wheat harvest started in the south of the country during the first week of August and was complete by mid-September in England, with the last areas in Scotland complete the following week. While heavy rain severely impacted harvest progress during mid-August, conditions improved later in August, bringing progress back in line with recent early harvests. 

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 2019 wheat and barley harvest. 


The estimated wheat yield of 8.8-9.0t/ha is above the 5 year average of 8.3t/ha, with all regions in the UK being reported as above average. Compared to last year, specific weights have decreased (-1.85 kg/hl), with samples submitted for our survey averaging 75.6 kg/hl, with heavier weights seen in the south of the country. This is mirrored with AHDB Report 6 estimating specific weights of between 75-76 kg/hl.

With wheat yields being reported as above average, we would expect a decrease in protein concentration due to the negative correlation associated between these two traits. Predictably, results from our survey indicate a decrease in protein of -0.3% (excluding Scotland), when corrected to a standard moisture of 13.5%, and a decrease of -0.4% when on an as fed basis. The trend in protein content can be seen in Figure 1. 

Compared to last year’s extremely hot and dry summer, it is unsurprising that moisture content of this years crop is higher than last year (+0.7%) at 13.5%, although some grain still required cooling prior to storage, with little grain requiring drying. The highest moisture result of 15.6% was seen in the North, where the later harvest coincided with more unsettled weather.

figure 1

Although results show an overall average decrease in protein, there is significant regional variation as shown in Table 1. with the lowest protein result of 8.6% seen in the North, and the highest protein result of 12.7% seen in the Central region.

table 1

Based on the WPSA equation, energy values have slightly decreased (-0.09 MJ/kg), although this can be accounted for due to the higher moisture content, as when corrected to 13.5% moisture, results from our survey indicate a slight increase (+0.02 MJ/kg) in energy as shown in Table 2.

table 2


Both Spring and Winter barley yields are estimated to be above the five year average at 5.6-6.0 t/ha and 7.4-7.6 t/ha respectively. 

Results of barley samples submitted for our survey indicate protein is comparable to last year at 10%, with moisture content seen in this year’s crop at 13.5% compared to 12.6%. When corrected to standard moisture of 13.5%, energy has slightly decreased (-0.11 MJ/kg) to 11.69 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. 


Although current reports indicate average DON and zearalenone levels in wheat and barley remain low, elevated barley DON has been reported in Cambridgeshire.

NIR Data Comparison 

This year we have continued to analyse split samples using NIR and wet chemistry. Table 3. shows the year on year trend of energy values and demonstrates that NIR supports our wet chemistry data and can reliably predict trends in energy content.

table 3

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. 

Summary tables of proximate analysis and expected amino acid profiles of wheat and barley split by geographical region can be requested by emailing poultry@premiernutrition.co.uk

Finally, we would like to acknowledge the support of our customers for providing the samples that form the basis of this survey.