Six-row start good for beef cattle

With just 1.6ha (4 acres) left out in the field, the 10ha (25 acres) of Siberia harvested so far have yielded a better than normal 7.5t/ha (3t/acre).

“Some of the grain had already shed from the ear from wind damage by last weekend, so we thought we‘d better go,” he said on Friday (July 9).

“I‘m the talk of the town here, though, because I‘m a bit early.”

If the grain is hard enough, Mr Hunt likes to harvest when it still quite moist – up to 20% or higher – and stores it wet in a tall, sealed silo.

All barley is fed to his 250 head of Limousin and Belgian Blue beef cattle on an ad-lib system.

“The six-row coming off first works well because it‘s relatively high in fibre, so makes a good introduction from old to new crop,” explains Mr Hunt.

“The two-row is a bit rich for them at this stage.”

He estimates moisture is about 18%, while the sample looks a bit bolder than last year.

“I‘ve also harvested a five-acre trial piece of Pict. Yield is similar, but the sample looks better than the Siberia.”

An important income stream is the straw, and Mr Hunt is expecting 5t/ha (2t/acre) – a better yield than last year – and should receive about £50/t delivered, he reckons.

There is still 32ha (80 acres) of mainly two-row winter barley to cut, and he has 80ha (200 acres) of winter wheat and 40ha (100 acres) of spring beans.

“It‘s airing off well, but I won‘t be doing any more today (Friday).

“What worries me is that the heads are starting to snap off the barley in the wind.”

The beans have blown over “but are not too bad”, while the wheat has “taken a hammering” and some is flat to the ground.