Andrew Symonds finished combining winter barley at Lincoms Farm, Hartlebury Worcestershire, on 12 July, after the earliest start to harvest ever.

“We were one of the first to start combining in the area,” he said. “We started combining on 9 July and just carried straight through to finish on 12 July.”

The Venture winter barley yielded extremely well, averaging 9t/ha on half of the 32ha, and 7.5t/ha on the other half.

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Crop facts

  • Crop: Winter barley
  • Variety: Venture
  • Yield: 7.5-9t/ha

“It’s the best winter barley we’ve ever grown,” said Mr Symonds. “Up the middle of the field the combine meter was touching 10t/ha.”

The sample was nice, too, having come off at 14% moisture. “The nitrogen content was 1.5-1.6% and the bushel weight was 64-65kg/hl, so we should get a decent malting premium with Coors.”

Mr Symonds measured 40mm of rain on Saturday (19 July), but it fell consistently over nine hours rather than in a heavy deluge. “It’s just kept everything going, which is good.”

Winter wheat was still some way off ripening, so Mr Symonds expected to be combining spring barley before the wheat.

“Hopefully the barley is indicative of a good wheat yield, which we need as the prices are so bad.”

With no oilseed rape to cut, Mr Symonds had been busy spraying off potatoes and carrots. “They also look well, but with potatoes at £70-£80/t we need the yield to compensate for the depressing prices.

“The potatoes won’t make any money this year, but hopefully the barley will do. We’ve never grown Venture before, so we’re really pleased.”