Yields disappointing and prices shocking

21 September 2001

Yields disappointing and prices ‘shocking’

ALL THE WHEAT is in the barn and there are just a couple of fields of spring barley to knock off, reports James Cunningham of Sunnyside Farm, near Haddington in East Lothian.

Yields of 7.5-8t/ha on his Claire and Malacca continuous wheat are disappointing he says, but not unexpected.

“They were sown late and didnt root at all well in that severe winter. They didnt really get going in the spring until April, so lost a good months growth.”

First wheats in the area have yielded 9.5-10t/ha on land that regularly tops 12-13t/ha.

The quality of the Malacca has been stunning, however. He attributes a protein of 13.7% and Hagberg of 367 down to careful nitrogen management. Unfortunately a specific weight of 71kg/hl will let it down.

At 5.5t/ha, he is also disappointed with the spring barley. “Its not the end of the world, but generally I expect more.”

Nitrogen is 1.7% – fairly low for this year, he notes – and its made the malting grade. The word is that those barleys sown late are generally coming through better.

But there are problems with the market, he says. “The maltsters arent taking any at the moment and its proving really frustrating. Im pleased that the qualitys there, at least, but the price is pretty shocking.”

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