According to the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB), the winter wheat harvest in Great Britain is starting to pick up pace.

This is a direct result of the drier conditions that have impacted across the country over recent days.

By the end of last week, more than 37% of the GB winter wheat area had been harvested.

However, there is a large variation in progress, ranging from 2% in Yorkshire to over 60% harvested in the southeast.

In Yorkshire, it has been reported that priority has been given to harvesting spring barley, especially malting varieties, in an effort to preserve grain quality. As a result, winter wheat harvest progress has been slow.

In some regions, storms and heavy rain have led to reports of lodging, notably in the northeast of England.

But the overall rate of lodging remains relatively low. There have been reports of ergot identified in some loads in the east midlands. But, significantly, there have not been any reported rejections currently.

Winter wheat harvest yields

Where yields are concerned, early reports point to winter wheat tonnages being positive across many regions.

However, variation across regions is clear, with soil type also impacting this, according to the AHDB.

In Yorkshire, although winter wheat harvest has not progressed much, it is noted that early yield indications suggest that crops on lighter land have suffered more with lower yields.

Water stress towards the end of the growing season caused some grains to become shrivelled.

Early indications of yields on-farm are ranging from 5.5-12.5 t/ha, with higher yields typically achieved on heavier land than crops on the lighter soils.

Typical average GB winter wheat yields up to the middle/end of last week are estimated between 7.7-8.3 t/ha. These are well within the the five-year average yield figures.

Specific weights are ranging between 72-78 kg/hl on farm. The GB average is currently 74-76 kg/hl.

Hagberg falling number (HFN) values are ranging between 260 and 300 nationally. There is limited information regionally.

However, reports from the east midlands would indicate that early harvested crops have come in with HFN values averaging around 280.

In the south-east, the HFN range is between 270 and 320. In the south-west, HFN are slowly declining, but the majority of high-quality wheat has now been harvested in this region.

 Up to this point protein levels have been ranging from 12.5-13%.

There is limited reporting of this information so far but in the east midlands, early harvested crops show protein content to be at 12.6%.

The average grain moisture is around 16.2%, with the GB average set between 16% and 17%. There has been a variation in drying requirements depending on weather.

However it has been reported that less grain drying, notably in the west midlands, has been needed over the past week due to drier weather conditions.