27 March 1998

Pushing for added value

ALL the winter and spring, barley being grown at Sir Richard Suttons Settled Estates near Market Rasen, Lincs, is destined for the malting market.

The reasons are simple – the land suits malting barley and the estate policy is to add value to crops wherever possible, says estate manager Chris Dowse.

This years winter barley varieties are Angora and Regina, both on buy-back contracts. Mr Dowse is planning to apply 112-125kgN/ha (90-100 unitsN/acre), some of which has already gone on. "If we do the job properly, there is still a reasonable premium to be earned," he comments.

Potash is also felt to be very important to malting crops. "We keep the levels up by applying muriate of potash. A foliar application of manganese is required sometimes too."

Yields from winter varieties average 6.5t/ha (2.6t/acre). "Obviously the weather has a part to play and disease control is important too. The fungicide regime gets close attention every year.

"Were still learning and we keep an open mind. We talk to the buyers closely and try to meet their demands."

He has signed up with ACCS because he believes it will be required by his customers in the near future. His crop of Fanfare last year won an award for the best winter malting barley sample in the region.

The use of buy-back contracts is a deliberate policy. "Without a contract, it might be difficult to place it," he concludes. "Only a small amount of our spring crop isnt being grown on contract this year." &#42

Added value remains the name of the game for Lincs farm manager Chris Dowse. Dual-purpose barley is managed for malting markets.