Farmer Focus: Malting barley quality is spot on

It is impossible to write this without mentioning the weather. Over the last few weeks I have sat watching the crop potential evaporate in front my eyes.

Then we received just over 30mm of steady rain over a few days. I don’t think that I have ever been so glad to see it.

The rain coincided with the Cornwall YFC annual rally, saving me from difficult decisions about who would be required to stay to keep the harvest team working.

See also: Maris Otter malting barley grower nets a tasty premium

Our combinable crop harvest seems to be progressing in a similar vein to the stories I am hearing elsewhere.

Malting barley stands out

Crops are coming to the combine significantly ahead of normal. With the barley, rapeseed, oats and some wheat harvested, yields are at best average, quality seems good and the dryer has only seen a small amount of rapeseed so far.

Probably the best performer has been the Maris Otter malting barley. While the yield is pretty decent for an old specialist variety, the quality is great, with a bright bold sample and the nitrogen content spot on.

I had a feeling that harvest would be straight forward this year. After a few tricky seasons where we always seemed to be chasing crops, through factors outside our control, I took the plunge and bought a second combine.

Part of the decision came about through the addition of extra land and part as insurance against catchy seasons.

I have no doubt that the theoretical outputs on some of the big kit are achievable elsewhere, but not when you farm in Cornwall. At least I now have plenty of capacity.

Daffodil bulb harvest is progressing steadily with the light at the end of the tunnel. The harvester has been proceeding up and down the various fields unseen in a cloud of dust.

Again here both yield and quality generally look to be satisfactory considering the season.