2017 GB Harvest Progress Results

Report 6 (Harvest week 12)

AHDB provides regular updates about GB harvest progress on the Markets website. In past harvest reports, harvest week 1 has been the second week of July and so although this is the sixth report of this year's harvest, it provides information for week 12 (Week Ending 26 September), for ease of comparison with previous reports. Please note that reporting takes place up to the close of play of Tuesday each week.

Overview – Week 12- WE 26 September 

Harvest report prepared by ADAS for AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds, using data supplied by regional reporters (mostly independent agronomists). The approach used is consistent with previous years allowing comparison of data and provides a snapshot of harvest progress throughout the harvest season. Harvest progress charts and quality data are available to view here.

This week’s report is based on data collected from England, Scotland and Wales. This is the final harvest report of the 2017 season.

With harvest nearing completion a clearer picture is being seen on yields and quality. The majority of crops appear to have yielded close to or slightly above the 5 year average, although unusually the AHDB Recommended List trial data tends to show slightly below average yields. Quality has been variable depending on region and on when during the harvest period the crops were harvested. In general, early harvested wheat crops tended to meet specification, whilst a proportion of crops in southern regions and those that had their harvest delayed have seen declines in Hagberg Falling Numbers.

Harvest is complete (bar the odd spring crop) in the majority of England, however a further three weeks of unsettled weather has prolonged the challenge of harvest in Scotland, Wales and the North West. Conditions are now increasingly autumnal, with heavy overnight dews and cooler days (average 12°C) leading to only part-day harvesting opportunities for many.

Overall progress in the last three weeks amounted to just under 210,000ha, just 6% of the GB area of cereals and oilseeds crops harvested. To date 96% of the GB crop area has been harvested. Winter oilseed rape, winter barley and oat harvests were completed last month. The crops remaining to harvest comprise of 127,000ha of spring barley, (mainly in Scotland, but small areas in the North West, Yorkshire and Wales), 44,000ha of winter wheat in Scotland, 5000ha of spring rape in Scotland, Yorkshire and the Midlands and 4000ha of spring wheat to complete in the West Midlands, Scotland and Wales. The spring barley harvest now stands at 80% complete, winter wheat at 96%, spring rape at 66% complete and spring wheat at 80% complete. The long drawn out conclusion to harvest is typical in these regions where later ripening tends to leave crops vulnerable to more unsettled weather and a shortening of daylight hours meaning that dew starts to form earlier in the evening and stay later in the morning.

Table 1 GB average yields and quality for cereals and oilseeds for WE 26 Sept 2017

Table 1 Average GB Yields


In the first week of September, rainfall across the 29 AHDB trial site monitor stations averaged 14.2mm over GB. In Scotland, average rainfall was 12mm with a high of 14.4mm in Easter Howgate and a low of 8.6mm in East Saltoun. Average temperature was 13°C. Conditions turned wetter nationwide in the following week, as rainfall averaged 21.4mm across GB, with a high of 71mm in High Legh (Cheshire) and a low of 7.8mm in Callow (Herefordshire). Temperatures decreased, averaging between 11.8°C and 13.8°C. The WE 21 September, brought more rain and unsettled conditions. Rainfall across the AHDB trial sites averaged 14.5mm with a high of 31.6mm in Wardington and a low of 0mm in Lydbury North and Callow.

For detailed weather data in your region, please follow the link below: 



Harvest Progress

To date 96% of the GB cereal and oilseed area has been harvested, leaving 127,000ha of spring barley, (mainly in Scotland, but small areas in the North West, Yorkshire, East Midlands and Wales), 44,000ha of winter wheat in Scotland, 5000ha of spring rape in Scotland, Yorkshire and the Midlands and 4000ha of spring wheat to complete in the West Midlands, Scotland and Wales. There were an estimated 210,000ha harvested in the last three weeks.

It is fairly typical for this time of year for the majority of the English regions to have completed cereal and oilseed harvest, whilst further North and into Scotland harvest tends to be more drawn out with later ripening crops and unsettled weather conditions tending to result in more protracted harvests in these regions. Poor weather in the north of GB continues to reduce harvest opportunities, resulting in slow progress especially in the North West of England and South West Scotland.

Harvest progress charts are available to view here. Select the region and crop that you are interested in to see progress. There is also a dashboard available to show national harvest progress against previous years.



Winter Wheat

GB winter wheat harvest is now 96% complete with 65,000ha being harvested over the last three weeks. The largest areas of crops harvested were in Yorkshire, the South West, North East and Scotland. There are 44,000ha of winter wheat remaining in Scotland. Lodging is estimated to have affected 4% of the national area of winter wheat in the 2017 season.


The current GB average yield is forecast to be slightly above average at 7.9-8.1t/ha (GB 5 year average 7.9t/ha). Over the harvest, English crops on average have yielded 2-5% above the farm average in most regions, with occasional crops averaging 10% more, and with Scottish winter wheat harvest now over half way, yields appear to be 6-8% above the Scottish 5 year average. There remains a great deal of variability in farm yields with reports ranging from 2.5-13.0t/ha. Milling wheat yields have ranged from 6.0-12.0t/ha and feed wheat 2.5-13.0t/ha, with the higher yields reported in the East, North East and Scotland. Heavier soil types with greater soil moisture availability during grain fill tended to give the better yields of 8.5-13.0t/ha, although there are reports of second wheats struggling on heavier soils. Lighter soil types are yielding in the range of 6-10t/ha. In contrast to the reported farm yields the AHDB Recommended List trial control means (7 sites) currently average 1.4% down on the 5 year average control. Normally the Recommended List results give an indication of where final yields are likely to be, but this year they seem to contradict the farm yields.


Remaining wheats are of Groups 2 and 3 in Scotland. With larger areas harvested in Scotland, the average specific weight here has now dropped to 73kg/hl. Biscuit wheat in Scotland is still mostly reaching specification, whilst quality of feed wheats is variable, with some of these having had their harvest severely delayed by the showery weather. The quality of early harvested Group 1 and 2 wheats from the south was good, with some high Hagberg falling numbers, however, as harvest progressed quality deteriorated, with particular issues with Hagberg falling numbers being detected in the South West.

  • Specific weight - 73-74kg/hl, range of 72-83kg/hl
  • Hagberg Falling Number (s) - season average of 221 seconds for all nabim groups, range of 114-350
  • Milling Protein - average 13.0%, range of 12.5-14.0%
  • Moisture - average 17%, range 16-20%. Almost all crops harvested in the last three weeks have required drying, coming in at higher than ideal moisture contents.



Spring wheat

The harvest of spring wheat is now 80% complete in GB. Harvest is complete in the South, East and West Midlands, with the largest areas left to harvest in Scotland, Wales (1,000ha each) and the East Midlands (2,000ha).  A total of 3,800ha have been cut in the last three weeks.


The current English average yield is 6.3-6.5t/ha. Regional yield averages range from 5.0-7.1t/ha but have tended to decrease slightly over the last three weeks in most regions.


Quality data is based on all regions other than Scotland.

  • Specific weight - currently averaging 70-73kg/hl
  • Falling Hagberg Number (s) - currently averaging ~210 seconds, range of 175-250
  • Milling Protein - currently averaging 13.0%, range of 12.5-14.0% 
  • Moisture - average 16%, range 15-23%. Almost all crops harvested in the last three weeks have required drying, coming in at higher than ideal moisture contents.



Winter Barley

Winter barley harvest was 100% complete as of WE 22 August.


The GB average yield is forecast to be slightly above average at 6.8-7.0t/ha against the 5 year average of 6.8t/ha. Yields in 2017 were variable with a range of 4-10t/ha. The control mean for the AHDB Recommended List trials is currently 0.8% down on the 5 year average control (based on 20 sites). This indicated that yields are close to or slightly below average, in contrast to the ADAS forecast which indicates they are close to or slightly above average.


Most malting winter barley has met its specification this year, with much of it harvested before being adversely affected by the unsettled weather. Quality of feed varieties has been more variable.

  • Specific weight - average 64-65 kg/hl, wide range of 58-70 kg/hl
  • Grain Nitrogen (malting varieties) – average 1.6%, range 1.3-1.8%.
  • Germination - range 95-100%.
  • Screenings - High in some areas, typical range between 5% (East) and 10% (North West). 
  • Moisture - average 16%, range 15-20%. 



Spring Barley

Spring barley harvest is an estimated 95% complete in England and Wales and 50% complete in Scotland, bringing the total area harvested to 80% of the GB area. With 71,000ha harvested over the last three weeks in GB, this represents the highest volume of any crop harvested in the last three weeks. Half of this area harvested was in Scotland. 127,000ha spring barley crops remain to be harvested, 120,000ha of which are in Scotland. Most malting barley in Scotland has been cut. Rate of harvest progress has been mainly influenced by availability of suitable harvest opportunities between showers, with crops in Scotland reaching maturity. Unsettled weather continues to increase the area of spring barley affected by lodging, now estimated at 18%. Brackling is also an issue in remaining crops, particularly in Central Scotland with sprouting in the ear reported.


Spring barley yield forecast for GB is currently 5.6-5.8t/ha (5 year average of 5.6t/ha). Yield reports are variable with above average yields reported in the South West and East, average in Wales, South East and Yorkshire and below average in the Midlands. Yields in Scotland are currently about 5% higher than the farm average. AHDB Recommended List yield data has shown 2017 yields to be 5% down on the five year average for spring barley, which as with the other cereals is slightly counter to the findings from the ADAS assessment.


Quality has been varied across the regions, with more challenging results from the south so far. On the whole nitrogen levels have been elevated and moisture levels have also been higher, with some reports of pre-germination. Of the crops left to harvest, the majority are feed varieties. Quality parameters have been reported as good in all regions, with low ergot levels.

  • Specific weight - average 63-64kg/hl, range of 62-66kg/hl
  • Grain Nitrogen (malting varieties) – average 1.7%, range 1.5-2.0%.
  • Screenings - range 2-8% 
  • Moisture - average 17%, range 15-19%.




By WE 26 September, 98% of the GB area of oats had been harvested. Over the last three weeks 6,000ha have been harvested, with over half of this area being in Yorkshire. Small areas of spring oats remain, mostly in Wales (1,500ha) and the Midlands (900ha). Lodging has increased with an estimated 12% of oats in GB affected by lodging.


Current GB average yield forecast is 5.8-6.0t/ha, a figure which now takes into account data that have been gathered from both winter and spring oat crops from all regions. Winter oat yields have tended to range from 5.4-9.0t/ha, whilst spring oat yields range from 4.7-7.6t/ha and naked oats are lower at 3.1-5.0t/ha.


Quality data is based on winter and spring varieties harvested in all regions.

  • Specific weight - average 53-54kg/hl, range of 50-56kg/hl
  • Moisture - average 17%, range 13-19%



Winter oilseed rape

The GB winter oilseed rape harvest was 100% complete as of WE 29 August.


Current GB average yield forecast is 3.4-3.6t/ha (5 year average is 3.4t/ha). Farm yields have typically ranged from 2.3-5.2t/ha, with most crops producing slightly higher than average yields. The poorest yields of under 3.0t/ha tended to be from crops grown on lighter land and areas where the crop struggled due to pigeon damage, earlier drought or poor establishment leading to patchy fields. The highest yields of up to 5.2t/ha have been reported on heavy land in the East, South and Midlands. The AHDB Recommended List trials for winter oilseed rape varieties, reports control mean for 2017 was 0.6% down on the 4 year average control.


  • Oil content - average 45%, range of 42-47% reported
  • Specific Weight - 68-70kg/hl
  • Moisture – average 9%, range 8-14%



Spring oilseed rape

Spring oilseed rape harvest is currently estimated at 66% complete with 2,000ha harvested over the last three weeks. Harvest is nearing completion in southern and eastern England, with areas left in the Midlands (3,000ha) and in Scotland and the North East (1,000ha combined). Lodging is estimated to have affected 10% of the GB spring oilseed rape area, the worst affected area being Yorkshire.


Yields are averaging 2.1-2.3t/ha.


  • Oil content - 44%
  • Specific Weight - average 69-70kg/hl
  • Moisture – average 10%


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