Good straw yields in Mid Wales

Paul Philips said it was very wet in Newtown, Mid Wales. “It’s chucking it down with rain so there will be no progress today.”

Winter barley harvest finished last Thursday, with Carat yielding below average at 5t/ha (2t/ac). The headlands were particularly poor yielding, but yields from the middle of the field were 6.25t/ha (2.5t/ac). Straw yields were above average – he baled 780 conventional square bales and 43 big square bales.

“We get very good straw here. It is worth more than the grain here because straw is crucial to our other enterprises with our 530 breeding ewes and 100 beef cattle.”

He said local farmers had to haul straw from parts of England and so if he could sell some of his straw locally it was worth more than the corn.

Quality of the barley was very good, which he was pleased with considering he does not get high yields. He said his grain always fattens the cattle better than the bought-in grain. “The mobile seed dresser couldn’t find a sieve big enough to test the grain – it was big and bold.”

Mr Philips had started cutting 13ha (22ac) of Gerald winter oats, which was 50% of his arable crop this year. “It is always our best crop. There is not a lot grown anymore and it’s crucial to our sheeps’ diet.”

He hoped to put some in storage this year because his oats were in high demand in the area due to the shortage. He also said it was good for the land because it smothered out the grasses.

“It uses half the nitrogen fertilisers and costs less to spray, with the same yields and better straw than barley – it all adds up.”

Eight hectares (20ac) of winter wheat was “not going to be barn busting”. It was late sown and suffering from couch grass.

He added: “It looks ok, but a bit messy in places. I’ll spray it with glyphosate to keep the weeds at bay for next season.”

• Crop: Winter barley
• Variety: Carat
• Area: 6ha
• Yield: 5-6.25t/ha

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