Richard Torr’s Harvest Update 2017

The 2017 harvest will most likely go down as the year where crops were ‘almost very good’, but the recent hot, dry spell of weather has meant that some have tripped at the last hurdle.

Winter barley

Although too early to comment on the performance of many crops, reports that I’ve heard of winter barley are generally that yields are a decent average.

Many are reporting that there is a terrific straw crop, usually an indication of good potential as a very high yielding grain crop. However, this has been impacted by recent lack of moisture and the very high temperatures which has meant that the crops have senesced very quickly.

Growers are still reporting decent yields, but inevitably the recent conditions have just taken the gloss off the crops.

Winter wheat

All seasons are different, and it will be interesting to see which wheat varieties suit this one. In 2016 early maturing varieties won out. In comparison, this year looks favourable for the later maturing types such as KWS Lili, as the ability to stay greener for longer will be likely to pay dividends. Some of the early varieties have ‘gone off’ quite quickly, which could have a detrimental effect on performance.

We have certainly had the sunshine to fill the grains, but it was either coupled with very high temperatures, or lack of moisture, or both, so we will have to wait and see the results in the shed.


At the time of writing it’s a bit early to comment on the performance of the OSR crops in the west, but I have heard reports from eastern growers suggesting that it looks to be a reasonable year. Some growers are experiencing large crops with excellent pod numbers, but with relatively small seed size.

The seed size will influence seed rates for next year, so growers need to be aware that adjustments may need to be made if the seeds produced are smaller than in previous years. Best practice is to sow by seed number not seed weight, and this autumn this should definitely be adhered to.

The season should suit Hybrid rape varieties, as they are often able to perform in the demanding conditions that many have experienced in 2017, so they should be a consideration for next year if growers want a variety which will perform whatever the weather.


Richard Torr
Seeds Sales Manager
Contact Richard or another member of the Arable Team here.


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