Harvest had finished in record time on August 31 for Mike Cumming in Angus, Scotland. “It’s the first time it’s ever been that early in the 15 years I’ve been here.”

Some 112ha of Optic and 20ha of Oxbridge malting spring barley averaged 6.6t/ha (2.65t/acre). Crops with up to 1.65% nitrogen and less than 19% moisture were sold for £85/t. Crops with 1.65-1.7% nitrogen sold last week for £80/t, but had to be dried to 14% moisture.

“The malting barley prices strengthened by £5/t last week, offering £85/t for nitrogen levels under 1.75% because of quality concerns due to the weather further up in Scotland.”

Rebecca feed barley came in at 7.5t/ha (3t/acre), and the crop was to be sold next year.

Winter wheat had been “variable for no reason”. All160ha (400acres) came in at 16.5-18.5% moisture, which he said was very good for his part of the country. One third of the crop was Consort, which yielded 9.5t/ha (3.8t/acre).

“Consort is very expensive but it is consistent. We’ll be cutting back on Robigus as it has never been outstanding for us.”

He also planned to drop Savannah and double the acreage of Alchemy, increasing the overall acreage by 10%.

Mr Cumming said there had not been as much straw as usual this year, but was pleased bushel weights were up. “Bushel weights of Consort were up at 77kg/hl. The volume was not high but the bushel weights were, which kept the yields up.”

Next year he planned to increase the oilseed rape area by 10% and slightly increase the acreage of winter barley.

“We will see a fall in spring barley.  The malting industry needs to put more commitment to pricing structure – farmers need to have an idea what they will get for the crops.”

Overall, he said winter barley had been average this year, and oilseed rape had been disappointing compared to how it had appeared. “It is a mystery – it looked like it had more potential than 4.1t/ha (1.65t/ac).”

But he added: “Spring barley and winter wheat harvest was exceptionally easy and went smoothly for us. I’m also encouraged by the prices, so I’d say it has been a pleasant relief.”

• Crop: Spring barley
• Variety: Oxbridge, Optic, Rebecca
• Area: 160ha (400acres)
• Yield: Oxbridge and Optic 6.6t/ha (2.65t/acre), Rebecca 7.5t/ha (3t/acre)
• Quality: Nitrogen up to 1.7%

• Crop: Winter wheat
• Variety: Various, majority Consort
• Area: 160ha
• Yield: Consort 9.5t/ha (3.8t/acre)
• Quality: 16.5-18.5% moisture