Harvest Highlights: Spring barley disappoints growers

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Reports today (August 11) were indicating spring barley yields and quality were mostly disappointing across the country, with most growers blaming weather conditions through the growing season for the poor results.

“We have no high expectations for the spring barley as it just had no rain,” said Derbyshire farmer James Chamberlain. He said the Doyen and Waggon were looking very thin due to the recent dry weather and expected to start combining today.

“We’re on sandy land so suffered from the scorching heat in June/July.”

Cliff Armsby in Norfolk said Optic spring barley did not do as well as last year at 5t/ha (2t/acre). By comparison wheat yields were up on last year at 10t/ha with all varieties coming off around the same.

Jim Macfarlane in Scotland said it had been a bad year for spring barley in the area, with 21ha of his Golden Promise yielding a “disappointing” 5t/ha (3.2t/acre). “It had never looked well and fell victim to the cold spell.”

Cocktail spring barley was not yet ripe, but he was ready to start a very early winter wheat harvest.

However, Hampshire grower Tom Coleman finished cutting spring barley a week ago and yields were slightly above average. Optic came in at 6.75t/ha, which was higher than anticipated. Despite nitrogen levels being slightly high, the crop all made malting quality.

“We’re pleased as it didn’t look like it would be anything special.”

See FWi’s Harvest Highlights section for the regional reports in full and more from around the country, updated every day.

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