Great Newsome Farm seed drillGreat Newsome Farm seed drill © Andrew Meredith

Spring drilling got under way on heavy land in East Yorkshire after ground conditions improved enough after the wet weather last week to allow wheels to turn this week.

Jonathan Hodgson, who runs the arable enterprise at Great Newsome Farm, managed to get 20ha of malting barley Concerto into medium to heavy well bodied clay land, with a further 20ha left to go.

The crop will be following winter wheat, with groundwork done close to the combine last autumn, allowing the drill to go straight into the seed-bed this week to reduce the risk of compaction.

See also: Norfolk growers earn premium with spring barley for whisky stills

While the risk of drought conditions will be lower than for many malting barley growers on lighter land, Mr Hodgson plans a pass with the rolls if conditions permit in order to conserve moisture and improve seed-to-soil contact.

This will be the fifth season that spring barley will be grown on the farm, after it replaced winter feed barley. Mr Hodgson says the switch was a no-brainer, being cheaper to grow and commanding a premium price.

Between 80 and 100t of the 300t budgeted to grow this year will return to the farm, after a trip to the maltsters, to go through the farm’s very own Great Newsome Brewery, run by Mr Hodgson’s brother, Matthew.