Harvest latest: Scottish spring barley worry

30 August 2001

Harvest latest: Scottish spring barley worry

By Tom Hood

Following reports of skinned grain in the Scottish spring barley crop, there appears to be a division of the scale of the problem between farmers and traders.

Simon Barry from Highland Grain says, “We have not seen anything that could fail on nitrogen, but there are a few batches with skinned grains.”

Sandy Alison, who farms near Edinburgh, is halfway through harvesting spring barley.

“Its yielding 2.25-2.5t/acre (5.6-6.2t/ha), which is about 0.5t/acre (1.2t/ha) down on average, but quality is good with 1.48-1.5 nitrogen and no skinning problems.”

It is the market that worries him more, “If maltsters are only willing to pay high 70s, I wont be growing spring barley next year as I wont be covering costs.”

Since moving into winter wheat on Monday, yields are still below average across harvest for Colin McGregor, who farms at Coldstream on the Scottish border.

Chariot and Optic spring barley have both yielded below average, but nitrogen is about 1.5-1.6%.

Wheat is a disappointment for William Wardman, who farms and contracts at Redcar near Middlesborough. He expects to finish winter wheat by the weekend.

Harvest was finished last Sunday for Richard Solari, who farms near Telford in Shropshire. Winter crops have been disappointing, but spring barley has been ok.

Claire winter wheat has yielded 2.5t/ha (1t/acre) down. “Probably 0.5t/ha of the fall in yield was drilling conditions and 0.5t/acre due to drought through May and June.”

Winter wheat and spring barley crops are variable but closing in according to David Roberts of G O Davis in Shropshire. “After a fine weekend well be near the end.”

“Harvest is as expected. Farmers havent expected records but the mood is gloomy.”

“Harvest has been no better or worse than expected, but I have been surprised by the variation in yield,” says Neil Wilson, manager for HR Bourn & sons in Lincolnshire.

Wheat yields have been very variable, ranging from 5-11t/ha (2-4.5t/acre). “There is some unexplained variation in yields.”

Richard Harris, who farms at Moulton north of Northampton describes this years harvest as, “one to forget.” He expects to finish winter wheat today.

Harvest is over at Bedfordia Farms, at Milton Ernest in Bedfordshire. Arable manager Bob Green says wheat yields have been slightly below average.

Spark spring wheat has been very pleasing and has reached class one milling standard. The first wheat has yielded 8.5t/ha (3.4t/acre).

“Every tonne of 1400t has reached class one spec. Even though it is listed as outclassed it still beats Malacca on the farm every time.”

Graham Bunn, manager of Rotac Farms at Woodbastwick near Norwich, says cereal yields will be 15% down from average.

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