14 September 2001

Black clouds continue to dominate a year to forget

With combines wrapping up

the odds and ends in the

south our coverage

concentrates on the regions

where there is most left to

do. Full reports from

Scotland, Northern Ireland

and the north lead this week

with yields of wheat, beans

and spring barley south of

the Humber reported in one

southern England summary.

Edited by Andrew Swallow

SCOTLAND

SPRING barley harvest in central and southern regions is almost over and better weather has allowed combines to make a good start to wheat. But in the north harvest is being dogged by rain.

Alex Kellett, of Edinburgh merchant IM Cowe, says spring barley in the Lothians should be finished this week. "After a very poor start, quality improved for the main varieties – Optic, Chalice and Decanter – as harvest progressed, with nitrogen averaging about 1.5%."

However, problems with Chariot splitting have been widespread and with few maltsters buying the variety it could be its last year in Scotland, he says.

Wheat is looking promising. Quality everywhere seems good, specific weights averaging 73-77kg/hl. Yields, however, are extremely variable.

At Lour Farms, near Forfar, Mike Cummings mainly Riband wheat is going well after spring barley finished last Friday. First wheat specific weight after oilseed rape and potatoes is 79kg/hl but about 74kg/hl as a second cereal.

Of his spring barley, late sown Decanter did over 7.4t/ha, with Chalice and Prisma averaging 6.5t/ha. Nitrogens are 1.4% for Prisma and 1.61% for Chalice.

Further south, Fife-based grower John Drysdale says Optic has performed well in terms of quality, but Decanter has been atrocious with splitting, skinning and pre-germination. He hopes to make a start to his wheat this week.

In the Borders, Chalice and Optic yields are down slightly for Kelso grower Alan Goodson. "Quality is fine, but yields are back a little at about 2-2.5t/acre." His wheat is almost finished, with Claire producing a pleasing 3.5t/acre and a bushel weight of 78kg/hl.

But lack of maltster demand for Prisma is causing frustration among some growers. In Aberdeenshire, Doug Fowlie reports that his 200ha crop was not as heavy as usual, with a specific weight of 62-63kg/hl and he is reconsidering which variety to grow for next year.

Continued on page 58