Spring barley harvest is underway across much of the UK, with the early Null-Lox varieties the first to be cut.

Stuart Shand, sales director at Gleadell Agriculture, said it was one of the earliest harvests in a long time, with spring barley cut in all areas including North West England.

“Yields and quality are fantastic – we have had farmers reporting record yields with our new variety Chapeau, which is good news when we’ve got these low prices,” he said. “I think spring barley could be the crop of the year.”

Spring barley yields ranged from 6t/ha on lighter land to 9.5t/ha on better ground, with nitrogen contents between 1.4% and 1.6%, and screenings at 85-98% over a 2.5mm sieve.

“The average of our Null-Lox samples is 14.4% moisture, 1.47% nitrogen, 93% screenings retained and 68kg/hl,” said Mr Shand.

See also: Upload your harvest photos to our Harvest Highlights gallery.

Winter barley yields and quality had also been extremely good, although some early crops had been poor.

“The early crops that burnt off had screenings as low as 40% retained – but feed barley samples are still averaging 65.3kg/hl, including the rubbish.”

Malting quality was good, with all varieties averaging between 14.4% and 14.9% moisture, 65.3-67kg/hl, 1.58-1.75% nitrogen and 88-93% screenings retained.

“Winter barley harvest will be all wrapped up this week – farmers on the East coast have had a torrid time of it with sea frets, but they’re well into it now,” said Mr Shand.

“But there’s very little buying demand, because so much was sold on contract pre-harvest.”

Winter barley premiums were pegged at about £12/t over feed for harvest movement, depending on proximity to the maltsters, with spring barley premiums at around £20/t.