Finished at Battletown Farm - Farmers Weekly

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Finished at Battletown Farm

Mark McFerran has finished combining at Battletown Farm, Newtonards, County Down, but harvest is still very late in the area.

“We only had 30ha of Cassia winter barley, and it took 12 days to get it cut and baled in the broken weather we’ve had,” he said.

Yields were better than expected at 7.2t/ha at an average of 21% moisture.

“We’re pleased enough with that, because we’ve head of some very poor yields due to the lack of sunshine.

“The grain just didn’t fill out the way it should, and straw yields were a bit down, too.”

Most of the winter barley in the area was now cut, albeit 10 to 14 days later than usual, but spring barley was extremely late to ripen, said Mr McFerran.

“We’re just pleased to have got ours cut and off the field – now we can concentrate on next year’s crop and hope the weather is kinder to us.”


Crop: Winter barley
Variety: Cassia
Area: 30ha
Yield: 7.2t/ha @ 21% moisture


Finished at Battletown Farm

Mark McFerran has finished harvest at Battletown Farm, Newtonards, County Down, but says yields have been disappointing.


“We had all winter barley, and started combining on Monday, 25 July. By Thursday, 28 July we had 34ha (85 acres) cut and baled.

“We were really thankful because the weather was good at that stage and it averaged about 15.5% moisture, so our drying charges will be minimal.”

The rain arrived as soon as the field had been cleared, he said. “The weather has been very broken since then.

“My neighbour was combining yesterday but we had heavy rain last night, which will stop harvest for a couple of days.”

Mr McFerran’s Saffron averaged about 6.8t/ha (2.75t/acre). “We like to try and get 7.4t/ha (3t/acre), which we did last year.

“But establishment in the autumn wasn’t as good, and the conditions weren’t ideal when I rolled it, so I could see the tracks of the roller in the crop right up to harvest.

“I think that took a bit of yield off – and the harsh winter didn’t help either.”


Crop: Winter barley
Variety: Saffron
Area: 34ha (85 acres)
Yield: 6.8t/ha (2.75t/acre)


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Finished at Battletown Farm

Mark McFerran has finished harvest at Battletown Farm, Newtonards, Co. Down, having put all the arable land down to winter barley.


“We began cutting in the last week of July and had finished by the following Thursday,” he said.

“The moisture content wasn’t what we wanted, but the crop was ripe and we didn’t want to chance leaving it, and then potentially losing it.”

The 34ha (85 acres) of winter barley came off at between 16.5% and 23% moisture, averaging 20%.

“There was particularly heavy rain the day after we finished, so we were really pleased to have got the fields cleared.”

Overall, the barley averaged 8.2t/ha (3.3t/acre), equivalent to about 7.4t/ha (3t/acre) after drying.

“We were quite pleased – that is slightly above our usual average.”

Volume yielded the best, at 8.9t/ha (3.6t/acre), albeit at a high moisture, while Saffron and Retriever came in at 8t/ha (3.25t/acre).

“For some reason the straw yields were not as good from the six-row as the two-row varieties, so I’m considering not growing Volume again.

“The bushelweight was touch and go, too, falling below 62kg/hl sometimes. If we hadn’t had the two-rows to bring the average up it may have been more difficult to sell.”

Most farmers in the area had finished winter barley, and were moving into spring barley, he said.


Crop: Winter barley
Variety: Volume
Area: 24ha (60 acres)
Yield: 8.9t/ha (3.6t/acre)


Variety: Saffron
Area: 4ha (10 acres)
Yield: 8t/ha (3.25t/acre)


Variety: Retriever
Area: 6ha (15 acres)
Yield: 8t/ha (3.25t/acre)



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