4 September 2001
Good quality, high moisture

THERE has been good progress at Mertoun Estates at St Boswells near Kelso. They have moved from spring barley to combine quality wheat. Manager Charlie Stewart says, “its very wet. Weve been combining wheat at 20-25% moisture, which means we are using a lot of diesel.

They have combined 160ha (400 acres) from 320ha (800 acres) of winter wheat. “We decided to move from spring barley to get the quality wheat while we could.”

First crop Malacca has yielded 10t/ha (4t/acre) on decent seedbeds and second crops have yielded 6.2t/ha (2.5t/acre) on poor seedbeds up to 8.6t/ha (3.5t/acre). “Overall we should average 3.25t/acre (8t/ha) across all wheat which is slightly below the expected 3.7t/acre average (9.1t/ha), but considering the seedbeds its done quite well.”

Quality of Malacca is also good. “Hagberg is all over 300 with one recording 430. Protein is 14%. But it is slightly light with specific weight 72-74Kg/hl.”

“Im also surprised at the demand for straw from livestock farmers. I must be getting 10 calls a day from them.”

They will move back onto spring barley in a couple of days. Most of the crop that was left was not yet fit.

Optic has yielded in the range 5-7.5t/ha (2-3t/acre). “It will probably average at 2.4t/acre (5.9t/ha), which is not a record year.”

He adds that Decanter was combined at very high moisture, resulting in skinning of the grains. “The standard of malting barley will have to be re-aligned as the quality is varied. Hopefully it will all make the grade.”


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