Winter barley harvest was around 50-60% complete, according to Grainfarmers East Anglia regional manager Stephen Howlett on Tuesday [18 July].

“The crop appears to have held on reasonably well, although yields are probably 0.25t/acre (0.6t/ha) down on last year.”

Grain nitrogen levels were variable, he said. “They range from 1.6% to 1.9%, but it is not different to normal. It is not going to be a vintage year.”

Malting barley varieties Pearl and Flagon were very comparable, while feed barley Carat had done well. “It’s got big bold grain.”

Screenings ranged from 4-10% with retentions in the high 70s, low 80s, he said. “We haven’t seen anything absolutely horrendous.

“My overall comment would be it is not as bad as we would possibly have thought, but who knows about the wheats and spring crops.”

Spring barley was a particular concern, he added. “I’ve seen my first sample this morning and it very thin. Screenings were 14-15%. Everything is dying off in the intense heat.”