Winter barley crop of the year?

Winter barley yields are about average so far, although early aphid Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus damage is causing some concerns.

David Neale, national agronomist at Agrii, said farmers had been cutting winter barley across much of the country, with yields averaging about 7.4t/ha.

“I’ve had reports of thinner crops in the East, where the plants have gone over. One of the big problems has been the wet soil conditions – in the Borders and Scotland it’s been absolutely dire.

“There is still water in the tramlines – I saw a combine near Abingdon (Oxfordshire) sunk up to its axles. And with the water below and heat above, the crop zone has become very humid.”

Although winter barley yields would only be average at best, it could be the crop of the year, as wheat and spring barley had suffered badly from grain loss and ear death during the wet flowering period, said Mr Neale.

“So far I’ve only seen a couple of wheat crops cut, so it’s too early to tell, but yields and bushelweights have been down.”

Oilseed rape was yielding about average, at 3-3.7t/ha, he added.

“The big problem has been the long flowering window, so there’s a range of maturity. Some seed is shedding while others are not yet ripe.

“There is also some concern over small seeds – and moisture levels are at 6-7%, which could impact on the oil content.”

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