The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is confirming that 85% of Great Britain’s winter wheat crop was in good/excellent condition in its latest crop update.

This is ahead of 82% at the same point last season, but down 3% on the month. Just 2% of the crop was reportedly in poor/very poor condition, up 1% on the month, but down from 3% at the same point last year.

Overall, winter wheat crops are developing well.

Most crops are now in between the growth stages 39 and 45 (flag leaf fully unrolled to flag leaf sheath swollen). This is ahead of where crops were at the same time last year.

Generally, crops are looking well at this point in the season, and yield prospects are good. There are only occasional crops in poor condition that have high levels of blackgrass or have suffered standing water earlier on in the season.

Septoria is the primary concern in terms of disease pressure at the moment.

Further crop update

Where winter barley is concerned, most crops are in relatively good condition. AHDB has confirmed that 88% of winter barley was in good/excellent condition, up from 82% at the same point last year, but down from 90% last month.

Approximately, 2% of the crop is in poor/very poor condition, compared to 3% at this time last season.

The last few weeks have seen swift development, with the majority of crops now between the growth stages 60 and 70 (start of flowering and flowering complete).

Winter barley crops are at a similar growth stage as the same point last season.

There is variable risk of lodging throughout GB, though levels are not too concerning currently as robust plant growth regulator (PGR) programmes have been used to reduce the risk.

There are small areas in poor condition due to standing water earlier in the season or dense blackgrass populations.

Winter barley

However, overall, winter barley crops have good prospects as long as lodging risk does not increase. Any increase in lodging risk will be dependent on future weather conditions.

The dry weather over the past few weeks has meant that drilling of spring barley is now complete, with the remaining 6% drilled throughout May.

Delayed by rain, drilling spanned over many months (Dec/Jan to May) and as such, development of the crop varies on when it was planted.

Earlier grown crops are now approaching ear emergence, whereas later crops are still in the tillering stage.

As of last week 74% of spring barley crops were in good/excellent condition, down from 78% last season.

The percentage of the crop in poor/very poor condition was 6%, up from 3% at this point last year.

According to AHDB agronomists, the prospects for spring barley crops are looking well, with earlier sown crops in slightly better condition than those in later sown fields.