1 August 1997


HARVEST remains good in parts, but disappointing overall.

Eighty per cent of the winter barleys are cut, with yields and quality medium-to-poor. Many malting samples have been rejected after failing pre-germination tests.

"Weve had barley yields below 2t/acre, but plenty over 3t," says Cornwall Farmers grain buyer Mike Hambly. "Hectolitre weights are 54-72.7kg/hl with one crop of Magie doing over 3t/acre.

"Malting barleys generally have disappointingly high N levels. The big unknown is whether they will pass pre-germination tests."

Near Lostwithiel, in south-east Cornwall, farmer/contractor Alex Stephens reports winter barleys struggling to average 5.6t/ha (2.25t/acre). But quality is not too bad. "Hanna looked poor but yielded better than expected and Fighter has done well."

WH Bond and Sons at Trerulefoot, Cornwall, have finished winter barley, averaging 5.9t/ha (2.4t/acre) of Halcyon after cleaning. The first sample tested 1.56%N.

Regina did better at 6.2t/ha (2.5t/acre), but quality was poor – 58kg/hl off the combine, 63kg/hl after cleaning. Poor demand for straw means it is being chopped and spread for the first time on the farm.

At Devon Grain co-op, Cullompton, Duncan Lyons says specific weights are very variable – many in the 50s and a lot in the high 60s, but few in between.

Barometer grower Richard Payne, near Taunton, Somerset, cleared Gaelic winter barley last week, even though barely ripe. One field yielded nearly 8.6t/ha and the other 7.4t/ha (3t/acre).

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