Winter barley could be one of the success stories for growers in the Hampshire/ Wiltshire area, according to Paul Taylor from Grainfarmers.

Both yield and quality looked reasonable, despite concerns that the crop would be hard hit by the dry April and wet start to summer. Two-row varieties had yielded around 7.4t/ha (3t/acre), while six-rows had been up to 8.6t/ha (3.5t/acre) on the light land.

Most samples were relatively bold and came in at 1.85% nitrogen, with some under 1.75%, he added. “Moisture has been the main issue, as people try to get it under 15%.”

Anecdotal evidence suggested Saffron and Cassata had performed well, he noted.

In contrast, oilseed rape had been very variable and many had found poor yields. Typically, crops cut so far had averaged 2.4-3.1t/ha (1-1.25t/acre).

Shedding due to heavy rain and hail was partly responsible for the lower yields, but the main reason was a build up of disease as rotations had got tighter, he said. “Sclerotinia is an obvious problem. We had very good flowering, so there was so much petal residue around to spread the disease. It only needed a little bit of moisture.”

Not much wheat had been cut by yesterday (31 July), but Mr Taylor expected growers to make considerable progress this week.

“Spring barley looks good, but is still a long way off – probably another two weeks – so it will definitely be behind the wheats,” he added.

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