8 August 1997


MIXED winter barley results from Scotland are producing more gloom than cheer.

There are worries over the future of Melanie, the main winter barley variety, due to split grains and shed heads. Mike Cumming at Lour Farms, near Forfar, will not grow it again. "It has not made malting quality at 1.96% nitrogen. I think I will move to a high yielding feed variety and concentrate on spring varieties for malting."

Aberdeenshire farmer Doug Fowlie has fared better. Three days of glorious weather saw him clear all 142ha (350 acres) of the variety. "It was coming off the combine at 13% moisture on Monday, the lowest I have known, and yields topped 3t/acre."

First reports from Berwick merchants McCreath, Simpson, and Prentice show Regina outyielding Melanie and with lower nitrogen, lower screenings, and less splitting. "It is hard to give precise figures, but Regina is providing better all-round samples than Melanie, of which only 25-30% is meeting contract standards," says the firms Gordon Wylie.

Barometer grower Scott Adam at Stirling struggled to find a day that was not overcast last week. His later Melanie disappointed at 6.8t/ha (2.75t/acre) compared with 8.2t/ha (3.3t/acre) last year. His winter oats should be harvested next week.

Around Scotland, winter rape is swathed or desiccated. Mr Cumming desiccated his Comm-anche, but green stems are still evident. "It is a great yielder but is difficult to harvest."

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