Cutting whenever possible paid dividends with milling wheat quality
All milling wheats have had to be dried, in some cases from 20% moisture. “We’ve cut whenever we can to try to preserve the quality needed for our Warburtons contract,” he says.
The tactic has paid dividends, with all milling grain, apart from a small block of Skyfall hit by heavy weather that has been stored separately, making the grade.
“Everything else stood very well and we averaged 12.7% protein; Hagbergs started at 350 and ended up at 240, while specific weights were into the 80s, all well within specification.”
That quality, coupled with near-budget yields for his 120ha of Skyfall, with one block on the home farm averaging 10t/ha over the weighbridge and a further contracted block 9.75t/ha, reflects the care that Adrian puts into his milling wheat.
Groups 1s rarely yielding less than feed types, as was the case again this season. “There was a lot more disease in crop this season, and we spent a lot more on fungicide. Septoria was noticeable and we had to spray more for yellow rust in the Skyfall. But we got the quality, so I can’t moan.”
Adrian’s 35ha of RGT Illustrious returned 9t/ha. “All yields are well below 2022, but this was a bit disappointing – it was on a lot heavier clay land than last year, when it was our best wheat, which might account for the difference. But it was still a relatively good performance.”
Both varieties are on order for the coming autumn, the ninth season for Skyfall and the eighth for Illustrious at Clattercote. By contrast, soft Group 4 variety RGT Bairstow made its debut for harvest 2023.
Cut on 21 August, it looks like it could be the farm’s best performer, according to the combine meter, which is regularly calibrated against weighbridge readings.
“It looked good through the season and yielded well,” says Adrian, who has earmarked a bigger area of RGT Bairstow next season to replace some other feed varieties that are now starting to show their age.