Malting barley quality and yields have been excellent across most of the country, according to Gleadell Agriculture.

Spring barley harvest ranged from 65% complete in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, to 80% finished in the South East and East Anglia, said sales director Stuart Shand.

“Apart from the South West, the spring barleys are of good colour, low protein and are yielding very well. The first barleys in the Borders are also very good.”

Quench had averaged 1.64% nitrogen, with Tipple at 1.56% and Optic at 1.55%, he said. All had good screenings, above 92% retained.

Winter barley harvest was all but complete, with very good quality and above average yields, he added.

“We have seen very little protein above 11.5%, while colour and grain size is excellent.”

Cassata averaged 1.58% nitrogen, with Flagon at 1.61% and Pearl averaging 1.67%. Screenings, again, were good at over 92% retained.

“Overall, on paper, there will be a surplus of approximately 300,000t, although a lot has already had to be moved for feed due to no malting home being available,” said Mr Shand.

“Lack of homes and no premium for winter malting barley is leading to growers switching into feed barley for this autumn plantings.

“We expect the winter malting barley area to be significantly reduced this next season, harvest 2010.”

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