Late nights pay off at Willow Farm

James Murrell has finished harvest at Willow Farm, South Burlingham, Norfolk, having put in a few late nights combining.

“The weather has been so unsettled that we got to the point where we just bit the bullet and got it in the barn. Another wet week would have caused yield losses.”

Although Carlsberg wanted malting barley at 14.5% moisture, Mr Murrell decided to cut his Charmay at 15-16% in case the weather turned even wetter.

“It was a very thin crop, but the ears were big and full. I thought we were only going to get 2.5t/ha (1t/acre), but it came off at 4t/ha (1.6t/acre) at 2% nitrogen.”

Pearl winter barley also did well, yielding 7.4t/ha (3t/acre) and making the malting grade.

“We were very pleased with that – we got the nitrogen on very early which paid off, because the rain washed it all in.”

Mr Murrell didn’t have any wheat this year, after a delayed sugar beet harvest.

With only 40ha (100 acres) on a tenancy with Norfolk County Council, he hoped to expand to 120ha (300 acres) next year, when surplus land would become available.

“The Council has doubled our rent, so we need to more than double the acreage to pay for it.”

Crop: Spring barley
Variety: Charmay
Yield: 4t/ha (1.6t/acre)

Crop: Winter barley
Variety: Pearl
Yield: 7.4t/ha (3t/acre)

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