Harvest 2004: Barley bonanza

HARVEST HAS been slow to get underway in the east, where progress on even the driest farms has been held up by rain.

But growers who have harvested barley crops continue to be pleased with results.

“I‘m thrilled,” Notts grower Keith Challem told FARMERS WEEKLY Harvest Highlights on Friday July 16 after harvesting the new hybrid winter barley variety Colossus.

It has given him a 10.1 t/ha (4.09 t/acre) yield and a “beautiful bright sample” with a specific weight of 69 kg/hl.

“Next year I think Colossus will be the only (barley) variety we‘ll grow,” he said.

In Dorset Jason Turnbull has been pleasantly surprised by his crop of Siberia-Carat mix winter barley, which yielded better than last year at 9t/ha (3.64t/acre).

“I‘d written my barley off, but when I put the combine in it turned out to be better than expected,” he said.

A “pretty laid” crop of Pict barley has brought Essex‘ Charles Carter 8t/ha.

“Although the barley is late, this year it is slightly better than the year before,” he said.

Sea mist has hampered progress through a 6.42 t/ha (2.6 t/acre) crop of Pict barley for Clive Brickell, farming on the East Sussex coast.

“My rape is ready and as soon as I finish harvesting my barley I‘ll be making a start on it.”

The weather is also holding up Herts grower Oliver Walston, who has no barley but “hasn‘t started yet, damn it,” on the rape.

And even on reputedly the driest farm in England, Essex‘ Guy Smith is unable to get going.

“It‘s all a bit ominous that we‘ve lost two weeks,” he commented. “We may find it difficult to get it back again.”

Showers, some of them heavy will spread from the South West overnight on Friday (July 16), according to FWi Weather Services.

But these should clear away to leave just a few scattered showers for most of the weekend.