East: Winter barley is on the turn

As I write we’ve just endured 39mm of rain in under an hour.

Fortunately, there was no wind, so the fear of flattened corn hasn’t materialised as yet.

Winter barleys are turning rapidly. On light land crops have burnt out in patches, but on the heavier soils they’re ripening naturally. I’ve no idea how yields will go, as the ears are quite full, but tiller numbers are lower than last year.

Spring barley is very thin after the prolonged period without rain just as it was tillering, although it looks better than it should in many fields in this area. Late N uptake may cause problems with malting quality.

The interesting crop this year that I have on several acres is redwheat, which offers a large end price, provided the specs are met.

Initially, like spring barleys, it emerged very well and hope sprang.Then the drought set in and they have struggled, as N input levels wereset quite low to achieve the high protein required.

The crop’s inability to have picked up N during the main growing periodhas been the problem; and with small ears and low tillering, yields areliable to lower than expected – but combining will tell.

Wheats have also suffered with fewer tillers. But with relatively lowdisease levels all the leaves can receive sunlight and so arecontributing to yield. This, I hope, may mean longer ear-fill and maybea better quality if the weather plays ball.

In sugar beet it’s time to remove weed beets where they’re now very evident.

The weather hasn’t helped with weed control, particularly of latebindweed and tough knotgrass, and some headlands are not pretty.

Oilseed rape desiccation is round the corner and some decisions will beeasy. But, unfortunately, others will cause quite a few headaches giventhe uneven, weedy crops we have to contend with. Who’d be an agronomist?

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