21 December 2001

Grower likes the look of new variety

SEED grower David Burge achieved a record yield for spring barley on his Hants farm last summer with Cellar.

"It has done us very well. We havent got all the weighbridge weights back, but I estimate it has done 9t/ha. That is at least 0.5t/ha better than anything else."

Mr Burge stresses that it is just one crop in one season. But Optic, given much the same inputs, did only 7.4-8t/ha (3-3.25t/acre), albeit off slightly poorer land.

The 25ha (62 acres) of Cellar was sown on Feb 19 on light loam over chalk and received 169kg/ha of nitrogen. A full four-spray strobilurin-based fungicide and trace element programme kept disease at bay. "Both Cellar and Optic had a bit of rhynchosporium, but nothing serious. The Optic had some mildew too."

Suggestions that Cellar is less prone to brackling than Optic, and the fact the awns were emerging when the third spray went on, meant Mr Burge left out a second pgr. "It went flat on the deck. Another year I think we will put it on."

Despite the lodging the crop produced a bold sample, fit for seed, and was ready a few days earlier than Optic. The decision now is whether to grow Cellar for malting as well as seed. &#42

Brussels sprouts, sold in the traditional on-the-stalk style, are the latest Christmas line at Waitrose. Supplied as a pre-pack by Univeg, they retail at £1.59 each. The company expects to supply between 500 and 600 cases a week, containing eight stalks each, to the top 30 Waitrose stores this month. Produce life is extended from 2-3 days to over eight, says Univegs Tim Southwell (right), seen here with Waitrose buyer Paul Yarrow.