Harvest 2016: Spring barley looks good in the North despite rain

Spring barley crops in Scotland and northern England are yielding reasonably well despite rain showers, while most cereal crops have been cut further south.

Harvest has been a stop-start affair for Adrian Ivory at Strathisla Farms, Meigle, Perthshire, due to wet weather. 

Yields of Concerto spring barley averaged 5.7t/ha, down on last year, while nitrogen contents were fine at 1.45-1.5%, and specific weights were 66-67kg/hl.

Mr Ivory is also growing the variety Fairing, which he started combining this week.

“The yield is very good so far at about 6.2t/ha, but there is still a lot to combine,” he adds.

The winter wheat looks good and is ready to combine. “Istabraq is an exceptional variety for drilling late on later land. We grow it every year and it always performs well,” says Mr Ivory.

Cypress and Tower winter barley yields were about 20% down on last year to average almost 7.4t/ha, although quality was perfectly good with specific weight at 68kg/hl.

See also: Harvest 2016: Wheat 90% cut, spring barley 70% complete

In Aberdeenshire, there is a lot of wheat and spring barley left to cut for Sandie Norrie, manager at AJ Duncan Farms, Muirden Farm, near Turriff.

Mr Norrie has combined the wheat variety Reflection with a yield of 8.9t/ha and a specific weight of 81kg/hl, and has now moved into the variety Leeds, which is achieving 9.9t/ha.

“We are on target to get yields above the five-year average; the same or just above last year,” he says.

Mr Norrie has a further 243ha of wheat left to cut and 162ha of Irina spring barley, which has so far achieved 7.2t/ha.

Winter barley yields were down about 10-12% on last year and about 5% below the five-year average.

Oilseed rape was a pleasant surprise, averaging 4.1t/ha, below average, but better than other crops in his area.

“Three-quarters of the rapeseed is Mentor on clubroot ground, but the highlight was Barbados which achieved 5.1t/ha,” says Mr Norrie.

Northumberland harvest

In Northumberland, harvest has gone reasonably well for Rod Smith at Beal Farm, near Berwick-upon-Tweed.

His Golden Promise and Laureate spring barley varieties came off with low nitrogen contents, and yielded about 7.4t/ha.

“The Laureate was quite pleasing with a nice bold sample.

“I will probably grow more of it and reduce the second wheat area,” he says.

Mr Smith’s second wheat crops came in about 8.6-9.9t/ha, while first wheats averaged 11.1t/ha. He also grew some wheat for seed which achieved 12.4t/ha.

“The crops were hampered by the weather as they had all looked to have massive potential at the start,” he says.

Saving money in Suffolk

It has been one of the easiest harvest, in terms of weather, for a long time for Andrew Flatt at Hill Farm, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

Yields have been all over the place, but a lot of money has been saved as very little grain needed drying.

He says the best crop of the year was spring barley.

Mr Flatt grew Propino, which managed above average yields and all the grain has gone for malting.

Diego and Skyfall wheat varieties have done well showing average yields. 

Mr Flatt’s oilseed rape crop was the most disappointing as it was hit by hailstorms just before combining.

Almost finished in Wales  

In Monmouthshire, harvest is almost finished for David Maddocks at Penybryn, Devauden.

“So far harvest has been quite dry and we are all done except for 12ha of spring beans which look really good,” he says.

Mr Maddocks grew 34ha of Evolution and Diego wheat which averaged 7.4t/ha. He also grew 18ha of spring barley which averaged 7.4t/ha, and 10ha of oats which achieved about 7.4t/ha.

“Spring barley was very good and produced a nice sample, while the oats came off very well and are a good break crop for us,” he adds.

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