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Prioritise your winter wheat harvest


The first cases of pre harvest sprouting in winter wheat were reported this week, according to independent adviser NIAB TAG.

Unsettled weather has caused delays in harvesting, giving the seed time and ideal conditions to germinate within wheat ears, affecting both quality and price. Oakley and Viscount varieties are the first to be affected.

Although many areas have seen rain now, this summer has not been as wet as the last two, and it is surprising to see these varieties so ready to sprout, comments David Parish, consultant at TAG Consulting Ltd.

Whether a given crop will sprout pre harvest is due to genetics, with some varieties -such as Cassis and Conqueror – being more prone than others, he points out. The forecast for this weather to continue is not good news for growers, who will experience further delays.

The only action growers can take is to prioritise harvesting, says Mr Parish. Bringing in the milling and quality wheat first and concentrating on those varieties that are susceptible to pre-harvest sprouting.

Just a few grains with sprouting damage can ruin a crop, bringing down the Hagberg number and limiting its end uses. Its no good for your bottom line to see your best milling wheat ending up of interest only to feed compounders.

Part of The NIAB Group, TAG is the UKs largest independent agronomy service, with influence across more than 20% of the UKs arable area.

TAG provides impartial agronomic information across a range of crop types, cultivations, spray technology, environmental schemes and agronomic inputs, using information drawn from over 20 trial locations throughout England.

The National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) is a pioneering plant science organisation based at the heart of the Cambridge science, technology and university communities and a thriving UK agricultural industry. It has an internationally recognised reputation for independence, innovation and integrity and is ideally placed to meet the industrys current and future research and information needs.

Founded in 1919, NIAB has over 90 years experience in the agricultural and food sectors in crop research, trialling and knowledge transfer.For more information, please see and

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