Barley surprises at Balgone Farms

Winter barley has performed surprisingly well at Balgone Farms, North Berwick, East Lothian, where James Grant-Suttie is now busy with fieldwork.

“We’ve had several consecutive days of dry weather, which is remarkable considering what came before it,” he said.

“We cut all the winter barley last week at 16% moisture, and now we’re just concentrating on bringing the straw in and getting the ground prepared for oilseed rape.

“It was the first point we could have confidently put a combine on a field without thinking it was going to sink – the tramlines are still full of water. It’s just unbelievable.”

The Cassata yielded over 7.4t/ha, which was very pleasing, he said. “And the quality has been remarkably good, considering it hasn’t seen much sun.”

With a bushel weight of 65kg/hl, low screenings and nitrogen content of 1.45%, it should all make the grade for malting.

The 61ha of Excalibur oilseed rape had been sprayed off for almost three weeks, and would probably be ready early next week.

“We always leave it three weeks, but two of those have been wet, so we’re not in any great rush,” said Mr Grant-Suttie.

“That said, being in Scotland you can’t afford to miss your opportunity, so we’re not being too complacent. We just put in a new on-floor drier, which is making life a lot easier.”

Another 120ha of Concerto spring barley was sprayed off on Saturday (11 August) and would be another 10 days away, he added.

“It looks horrible – the light land looks fine, but we haven’t got very much of that.

“The wheat looks okay, but we won’t combine any wheat until September, so it will just depend what the weather does.”

Crop: Winter barley
Variety: Cassata
Area: 61ha
Yield: >7.4t/ha

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