Ron Duncan farms 222ha
(550 acres) in partnership
with his wife and eldest son
at Begrow Farms, Duffus,
Elgin, Moray. Crops include
winter wheat, spring barley,
swedes and beetroot,
alongside a pedigree
Limousin suckler herd
THE glorious 12th has come and gone again and it certainly went with a bang here at Begrow.
Unfortunately, the bang came from the combine as we ventured into the spring barley, a week earlier than last year. It wasnt a huge problem – a broken knife – and it did give the barley a couple of extra days to ripen which it probably needed.
Having carried out extensive field walking, my son discovered some alarming problems in the standing crop; germinating grain, split grain and fusarium.
However, I am pleased to report that samples of the first 75t of Optic look less alarming in the bin and we have had the all clear from the maltsters at 1.4% nitrogen, low screenings, and moisture on one sample an incredible 12.6% off the field.
It is amazing really, the power the maltsters hold over us. Under some pretext or other we often have to wait a week from cutting to receiving a yae or nae as to the acceptablility of the sample.
Meanwhile, we have separate heaps of barley from different fields, and different varieties, piled on every conceivable patch of concrete. The soonest we can expect to shift any will be the end of the week.
I suppose we should be thankful that the weather last week was excellent but we still have 120ha (300 acres) of spring barley to go and a little wheat.
It was back to normal on Sunday though – light rain all day. Yieldwise, both Optic and Decanter look promising with bold grain.
SAC is conducting extensive variety trials of both spring barley and winter wheat on our farm this year, including various chemical programmes.
Hopefully that will provide useful information for coming seasons.
My own wish is that we could find a variety of malting barley that can cope with this "muggy" weather pre-harvest which seems to be an annual problem nowadays.
More news on these trials next time round. *
Spring barley harvest started with a bang for Ron Duncan as an under storey of weeds did for the combine knife.