Early barley harvesting points to big variations

18 July 1997




Early barley harvesting points to big variations

EARLY winter barleys taken from light soils in the south point to a very variable crop. Yield and quality are heavily influenced by drought, frost damage and lodging.

Dirty samples are easy to find, and some are showing signs of sprouting, according to the trade.

With ex-farm feed barley trading at £68/t on Monday, most growers hope slower ripening crops will fulfil their better promise. Cutting in such crops was confined to a few false starts as variable weather hindered harvesting earlier this week. Good weather forecast for the weekend was expected to speed progress.

Wilts yield

"One grower in Wilts cut 120 acres of barley at over 3t/acre," says Robert Kerr of Glencore Grain, Thame, Oxon. "But another in Berks reckons he will be lucky to make 45cwt around Marlow."

Rain stopped combines in Norfolk and Suffolk last weekend, so little barley had been cut by Monday, says Dalgetys Gary Hutchings. "Crops are variable. A lot have pre-germinated, probably due to lodging. And they are a bit dirty."

In Kent barleys are bold at 63.5kg/hl with no sprouting, he adds. "Again, the crop is dirty. And weve not seen a 3t crop yet, which suggests yields are down a bit."

Only barleys on the lightest soils in the southern half of East Anglia were cut by the start of this week, says Philip Darke, store manager for Camgrain. "The crop looks very dirty and pale."

Quality is very variable. "Hopefully later barleys will have been green enough when the rain came to have benefited from it," he comments.

Wilts Grain manager Nick Brown is slightly concerned by split grains. "Maltsters are saying they wont accept it, so, for the moment at least, it is feed."

Gleam winter barley cut last week just topped budgeted yield on chalk around Salisbury, Wilts, reports grower Wesley Bright. Yields over 61ha (150 acres) averaged 6.29t/ha (2.55t/acre) over a weighbridge.

Nitrogen content ranged from 1.3-1.7%; bushel weight was 66kg/hl with 3% screenings. "Its all gone for malting." A 6.8t/ha (2.75t/acre) crop of Fanfare hit 1.9% N. That and high screenings makes it feed.

Sunrise winter barley on blowing sands at Manor Farm, near Abingdon, Oxon, was dead on its feet before April rains, says William Cumber. "It was barely a foot tall in places." The 32ha (80-acre) crop disappointed, yielding just 4.4t/ha (1.8t/acre) of 63kg/hl grain.

About 6ha (15 acres) of Gleam grown as feed on better sandy loam, made 6.7t/ha (2.7t/acre). "But it had a low level of green tillers from secondary growth, giving problems with the sample." Twice round a field of unfit Epic with the combine suggests better things to come, adds Mr Cumber.

On the Somerset/Dorset border Wessex Grain reports some barley cut. But nothing is over-ripe and both yield and quality are average-to-poor for malting and feed varieties.

South-west barometer Richard Payne, near Taunton, Somerset, hoped to harvest rape this week, following desiccation last week.

&#8226 Full regional round-ups start next week.

HARVEST START

&#8226 Some barley taken from light soils in the south.

&#8226 Yields and quality variable.

&#8226 Some sprouting.

&#8226 Dirty crops widespread.

&#8226 Later barleys better?

HARVEST START

&#8226 Some barley taken from light soils in the south.

&#8226 Yields and quality variable.

&#8226 Some sprouting.

&#8226 Dirty crops widespread.

&#8226 Later barleys better?


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