Best barley in six years at Lour Farms

Mike Cumming has had the best winter barley harvest in at least six years at Lour Farms, Ladenford, Angus.

“We started combining five days later than normal, on 5 August, and in just three days had cleared up 70ha – it was really easy,” he said.

Volume, Bamboo and Retriever averaged 8.9t/ha over a weighbridge, with a small field of Volume topping at 9.3t/ha and Retriever reaching 8.4t/ha.

“There wasn’t really a big spread between the varieties – the Bamboo was most consistent so we’ll drill that this back end.”

Bushel weights were reasonable, with the six-row varieties at 63kg/hl, and the Retriever 68kg/hl. “The Retriever looked pretty awful all summer, so it was a big surprise.”

Until this week, the weather had been fantastic, and Mr Cumming hoped it would become more settled again next week.

“It’s the first time in six years that we haven’t had to cut winter barley in the mud.”

He started combining Cracker oilseed rape earlier this week (20 August), which averaged 4.7t/ha at 16% moisture. “It will drop once it’s dried – but that’s probably going to be our best field.”

A little bit of Expower was less inspiring, he added. “The seeds were noticeably smaller, and I think yields will be much lower.”

Half the rapeseed was drilled early, after winter barley, and looked well – but the other half, drilled late after spring barley, was not so exciting, said Mr Cumming. “I’m not expecting wonders from that – I think the best of the harvest is behind me.”

Having ploughed up 40ha of wheat this spring, Mr Cumming had 240ha of spring barley to go at. But very few farmers had started cutting it yet.

“The crops are full of promise, but they’re not quite fit. I think next week we’ll see significant action – if we had 10 days of decent weather the spring barley harvest in Angus would go from 0% to 80% pretty rapidly.”

Wheat harvest wouldn’t start until September, but crops looked reasonable, he added.


Crop: Winter barley
Varieties: Volume, Bamboo and Retriever
Area: 70ha
Yield: 8.9t/ha


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