Poor spring barley at Grange Farm

Mark Ireland is pushing ahead with harvest at Grange Farm, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, but his spring barley is very disappointing.

“We started earlier than normal today (15 August) as we’re probably going to get some rain later,” he said.

“But the spring barley is doing very poorly – it hasn’t looked well since the rain arrived in April.

“We had 80% of our annual rainfall between April and July, which has turned what potentially could have been a superb harvest into a very moderate one.”

Although the crops looked well, with lots of straw, there was just no weight to the grain, with bushel weights in the very low 60s, he added.

“Normally we are nudging 68-71kg/hl, and that’s having a big effect on yields.”

The Propino and Quench ranged from just scraping 5t/ha as a second barley to 5.7-5.9t/ha as a first barley after sugar beet.

Wintmalt winter barley, resurrected on the farm after being dropped from the recommended list, had produced a pleasing 7.4t/ha at 1.45-1.6% nitrogen.

“Like the spring barley, there’s been a little bit of skinning, but we’re exceptionally pleased with that,” said Mr Ireland. “But with malting premiums where they are we haven’t sold it yet.”

Oilseed rape proved very variable, with small seeds cutting light land yields to 3-3.7t/ha.

“The seed on heavier land was bigger, resulting in yields of 3.7-4.4t/ha. Overall we’ve probably averaged 3.7t/ha, and from the reports we’ve been hearing, I’m pleased with that.

“The Excalibur stood up and yielded similar to the Extrovert, which was fairly well lodged. The Compass out-yielded them both, so we’ll be concentrating on that this autumn.”

The dry weekend had also enabled Mr Ireland to cut 160ha of wheat, with similarly mixed results. “I needed to convince myself it was as bad as it looked.”

Oakley yielded 7.4-8.4t/ha at 17% moisture. “Once we dried it and took out all the screenings it was down to about 7.4t/ha on average, with a dry bushel weight of 70-73kg/hl.”

Conqueror didn’t have quite so many small grains, and yielded about 10% more than the Oakley.

“The Cordiale always looked better, and has provided better quality of grain. There was always less fusarium in it than the Oakley and Conqueror, and it’s probably yielded 8.5t/ha.”

Milling quality was also good, at 75-76kg/hl, Hagberg in the high 200s, and protein of 14%. “I grew it on contract, so gave it some late foliar nitrogen to ensure I got 13% protein – it now looks like I wasted my money.

“Unfortunately, we’ve got a lot more Conqueror and Oakley to cut now, rather than more Cordiale.”

Crop: Winter wheat
Variety: Cordiale
Area: 105ha
Yield: 8.5t/ha

Variety: Oakley
Area: 20ha
Yield: 7.4t/ha

Variety: Conqueror
Area: 35ha
Yield: 8.1t/ha

Crop: Spring barley
Varieties: Quench and Propino
Area: 290ha
Yield: 5-5.9t/ha

Crop: Winter barley
Variety: Wintmalt
Area: 320ha
Yield: 7.4t/ha

Crop: Oilseed rape
Varieties: Excalibur, Extrovert and Compass
Yield: 3.7t/ha

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