Winter barley harvest almost complete in south

Winter barley harvest was virtually completed in southern England, according to Robin Appel’s barley buyer Jonathan Arnold. “Farmers are wrapping it up this week.”


Results had been extraordinarily mixed. “It matches the growing season.” Some growers had got good yields and quality where rain had fallen at the right times, while others had not been so lucky, he explained.


“There has been a tendency for higher nitrogens in Pearl, while Flagon has been more consistent. It appears to be a true malting type.


“Fanfare has been mixed, but has performed reasonably well for traditional malting barley growers.”


Early signs for spring barley were encouraging, he said, despite other commentators fears for the crop. “It is going to be mixed, but south of the M4 maybe not as mixed elsewhere. On the chalk-based soils they’ve kept going pretty well, although it might be a different story on the Cotswold brash.”


Weekend thunderstorms had not damaged the crop, he believed. “Every thing has stood them quite well, but if we continue to get wet and hot periods pre-germination in the ear might potentially become a problem.”


The thunderstorms had more likely to have damaged oilseed rape, fellow grain trader Nick Oakhill from Glencore said. “They could have caused over dry pods to shatter, but until farmers go through with combines we won’t see what influence they have had.”


Over dry pods had been the main issue he had encountered so far this season. “Crushers have been sensible in the way they are dealing with low moisture rapeseed. Instead of rejecting it they are taking below 6% content seed, and without penalty providing it is above 5%.”


Oilseed rape yields were 5% down on last year, he estimated. “Last year nationally the average was 3.2-3.25t/ha, but that’s not happening this year.”