Spring barley success in Kent

Spring barley quality is proving very good in Kent, with some samples weighing more than wheat.

“Farmers have cut well over 50% of the spring barley, and quality is good so far, with lower than normal nitrogen contents of 1.5-1.7%,” said John Smith, director at Weald Granary.

“Most of it is Tipple, and it’s weighing in at 64-65kg/hl, while some Gallant wheat is at 62kg/hl. That’s the first time I’ve ever known spring barley weigh more than wheat.”

Wheat harvest was about halfway through, with total progress pegged at about 60%, said Mr Smith.

“People are talking about cutting beans soon. Oats are doing well, but most people are concentrating on getting the wheat off.”

Wheat quality was very variable, with Solstice and Cordiale improving in bushel weight as harvest progressed, he added.

“But Gallant has really struggled. Most wheat has averaged 70-72kg/hl but there’s a lot below that. Last year we were pushing 80kg/hl and above.

“But surprisingly, people are still reporting average to good yields, despite the lower bushel weights.”

Mycotoxin levels had been fine, although highest in wheat grown after maize. “It’s not been the problem that people had expected.

“And the vast majority of crops have been cut dry, so that’s helped to keep the costs down.”

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