Moray grower Frank Thomson’s first foray back into winter barley for many years had proved a successful experiment, he told Harvest Highlights.

“I think we’ll go again.”

The Clochan farmer combined 7ha in total of three hybrid barleys yesterday [25 July]. “In total we got 62.5t off 7ha. I’m pretty happy with that considering the light land.”

Syngenta’s newest hybrid Bronx, a candidate for HGCA recommendation this year, had come out slightly higher yielding than Boost, while Colossus was the lowest of the three.

“Based on the growing season I’ve ordered Boost for next season, which appeared to be a bonnier barley and have bigger grains, but Bronx seemed to have more grains / head.”

With Boost seed appearing to be in short supply Mr Thomson was planning to fill in with Bronx next season.

Winter barley had been grown for the first time in a several years as a feedstock for his suckler cows and also to allow an earlier entry into oilseed rape.

The main crop on the farm, which is midway between Aberdeen and Inverness, was spring barley, he said. “We’re close to the maltings.”

This year’s crop was likely to be harvest in two to three weeks time – significantly earlier than last year. “Last year we started on 26 August so we will be significantly ahead of that.”

He said the crop looked good this year, following on from record yields last year. “But we’ll just have to wait and see how it comes off the combine.”

Crop: Winter barley
Varieties: Colossus, Boost, Bronx
Yield: 8.9t/ha
Area: 7ha
Moisture content: 15.2%