UK yields across trial sites better than expected, say crop production specialists Hutchinsons

Hutchinsons UK crop trials. Picture: JOHN EVESON

Hutchinsons UK crop trials. Picture: JOHN EVESON - Credit: John Eveson

UK yields were better than expected in many areas after one of the driest seasons in recent history, according to figures from regional trials carried out by crop production specialists Hutchinsons.

UK rainfall averages. Picture: MET OFFICE

UK rainfall averages. Picture: MET OFFICE - Credit: Met Office

Averages across its Regional Technology Centre sites showed wheat yields of 11.73t/ha and oilseed rape (OSR) yields of 4.83t/ha. That compared with 12.18t/ha in 2014, 12.59t/ha in 2015 and 11.17t/ha in 2016 for wheat, while previous OSR yields averaged 4.25t/ha in 2014, 5.25t/ha in 2015 and 3.95t/ha in 2016. This was against a backdrop in 2017 of low rainfall, at just 76% of the 1981-2010 average.

Trials manager Dr Bob Bulmer said crops able to access sufficient moisture fared well in generally low disease pressure.

“However, those in drier regions or on light land often struggled, with poor tillering (forming of shoots) and early senescence (biological aging) being common problems,” he said.

“Findings from the Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) suggest dry winters can be better for wheat yields than wet conditions, however the prolonged dry spell through the key growth stage 31 to 39 period reduced 2017 potential.”