Winter barley harvest was racing head on one big Suffolk Breckland estate over the weekend, with the farm manager happy with the yield following a very dry spring.
Six-row hybrid variety Bazooka was being cut at the Euston Estate, just south of Thetford, and the crop grown for seed was averaging about 6t/ha.
Farmer manager Matthew Hawthorne said the farm grew 220ha of the variety, and combining started slowly last Thursday, progressing well over the weekend.
“We are happy with the yield, considering the season and that it is a seed crop which was not pushed hard,” he told Farmers Weekly.
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He described 6t/ha as an average yield for this very light sandy soil, and said the crop gave a good grain sample cut at about 13.5% moisture. The estate has already cut 100ha of the two-row winter barley variety Tower at a yield of 6.42t/ha.
“The rain came two weeks too late for the winter barley, while it has come about right for the winter wheat,” he added.
The rain in late May and into June came after a very dry spring on this blow-away, light, sandy soil and has helped the estate’s milling wheat varieties, Skyfall and Solstice.
The winter barley grown for seed uses a low seed rate of 80kg/ha and only receives 120kg/ha of nitrogen fertiliser to give a good, even grain sample for the seed trade.