Harvest 2019: Barley yields beat forecasts in Suffolk and Essex

Winter barley yields are above expectations on the very lightest soils on the Elveden Estate in the Suffolk Brecklands, and came as a surprise after very dry spring weather.

Farm manager Rob Ball said the new malting variety Electrum was yielding 6.25t/ha and fellow malter Flagon 6.3t/ha. Some 150ha has been cut out of a total winter barley area of 600ha.

“The winter barleys are yielding well and above expectations, which came as a surprise on our light land. We seem to have had the right weather at the right time with plenty of sunshine,” he told Farmers Weekly.

Elveden farms more than 4,000ha of some of the lightest land in Britain, just south of Thetford, growing wheat, barley and rye together with a wide range of vegetables such as potatoes, onions, carrots and parsnips.

See also: Harvest 2019: Oilseed rape yields hit 5t/ha in Kent

Essex heavy land 

Further south, Tom Bradshaw’s winter barley has also come in above expectations on his heavy Essex land and gave a good grain sample.

He has just finished cutting 175ha of two varieties of six-row winter barley, the hybrid Bazooka and conventional Funky, with yields averaging 8.5-9.0t/ha compared with a farm average of 8.0-8.5t/ha.

“On heavy land, a dry winter is good for us as it encourages rooting and we have come up with a good yield,” he said from his base at Fletchers Farm, Fordham, near Colchester.

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