Halfway through barley in Wilts

Winter barley harvest is over halfway through in Wiltshire, and malting quality has been better than expected.

“Some barley has been very bad, and yields have been down to average or below average,” said Nick Brown, store manager at Wiltshire Grain.

“But the majority of the Cassata has been better than expected – there is some skinning but nitrogen and bushelweights are alright.

“In a normal year, you’d probably downgrade it to feed, but this year it will probably make malt.”

Nitrogen contents were averaging 1.55-1.6%, with bushelweights ranging from 54kg/hl to 67kg/hl, he said. “It really is a mixed bag.”

Oilseed rape yields were about average, if you ignored last year’s bumper crops – or below average if you included them, said Mr Brown.

“Oil contents are also below last year, although there’s nothing below 40% so far. The highest we’ve seen is 44.5%, and they’re probably averaging 42.5%.”

Wheat harvest was still about two weeks away, and the prospects were not very promising, he added.

“People have been rubbing out the ears and wishing they hadn’t. We’re just praying that crops will be better than they think once the combine gets in there.”

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