Spring barley nitrogen levels high in Scotland

Spring barley was variable this year for Hamish Forbes at Lockdhu Farm, Moray. “The quality was quite poor. Some were ok, but many Nitrogen levels were extremely high.”

Yields on light land were very poor but were more reasonable on heavier land. Optic and Catriona came in at 5-6.25t/ha (2-2.5t/acre) from 80ha (200acres), which was slightly below average. He said Catriona was a particularly high nitrogen variety, which limited yields.

“The picture is the same all over the area due to the dry weather – a lot of the light land has high screenings and high nitrogen levels. The crops were extremely burnt up early on and so never filled up.”

With 16ha still remaining Mr Forbes said it had “not been a tremendously great harvest” this year.

Next year he planned to continue growing some Optic, but perhaps some Oxbridge, depending on what the maltsters wanted.

“We’ll see how the varieties have been doing and what the market is doing. I can’t see us doing anything much different but I hope the market will improve.”

• Crop: Spring barley
• Area: 80ha (200acres)
• Variety: Optic and Catriona
• Yield: 5-6.25t/ha (2-2.5t/acre)
• Quality: High nitrogen, high screenings

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