25 July 1997


ITS a double whammy – early drought on light land has hit winter barley yields, while following rains have pushed up nitrogen content.

That is the experience at Thoresby Home Farm, Perlethorpe, near Newark. Winter barley cutting started last Thursday and was half-way through by Monday. Yield is averaging 4.89t/ha (1.95t/ acre), 0.5t less than usual, and nitrogens are 1.8-2.07% on early samples, comments newly appointed manager, John Barker.

Robert Bealby who farms at Edwinstowe, Notts, says: "One neighbour has taken a field at a disappointing 4.27t/ha, and that is barley not oilseed rape." His own barley harvest has been delayed by rain at the end of last week, followed by fog and heavy dew.

In Northants malting barley is looking "iffy" for nitrogen – "up in the twos and specific weight is light," says merchant Charles Jackson of Long Buckby. Pre-germination and split seed is already showing on delivered samples. But first rapes have done well at 4.14t/ha (33cwt), he reports.

The ADAS Land Research Centre farm at Gleadthorpe started combining irrigated Fanfare winter barley on Monday. Yield looks about average, says farm manager Peter Blundell.

"Fanfare samples look dull – it is not right at all," he adds. With secondary growth in the Optic spring barley he is not optimistic.

FW barometer grower Justin Blackwood of Grange Farm, Great Brington, Northants, was due to start winter barley this week, a day or two ahead of last year.

Mike Wills of Upper Coton Farms, Northants, has already cut 26ha of Manitou winter barley on very light land. Yield is just under 8t/ha and the sample good. &#42

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