Growers are reporting winter barley yields 10-20 per cent lower than average with fears the winter wheat crop could be even more disappointing due to lack of rain at grain fill. Marianne Curtis and Abby Kellett report
Dorset farmer, Neil Robinson says he is ‘disappointed’ with the 30ha (74 acres) of Bazooka which he cut on July 5 - 10 days earlier than he would normally expect to cut winter barley.
The crop averaged 6.2t/ha (2.5t/acre), which is about 20 per cent lower than his farm average. Bushel weights were typically below 60kg/hl.
He put the lacklustre yield down to lack of rainfall. “We have not had rain here for about five weeks - this combined with the wet weather earlier on in the season has proved a real challenge for crops and I think cereal yields will suffer as a result.”
Yield drops in winter barley have also been seen by Andrew Blenkiron, estate director, Euston Estate, Suffolk. He has grown Bazooka for seed for Syngenta, and Tower for feed. “Winter barley has averaged 6.8t/ha, probably 10-15 per cent down. This is relatively pleasing given the season. Straw has been phenomenal – thick, bold straw bleached white.”
Moisture was 10-12 per cent and bushel weight, 60-62 per cent.
Mr Blenkiron says: “We are starting wheat today [July 10] – Solstice. There is no doubt it will probably be down to 4-5t/ha. It hasn’t filled really – it has had no water since grain fill started. It is 3-4 weeks early.”
Norfolk grower, Richard Cobbald says: “We have finished harvesting our Bazooka barley which yielded between 7t/ha on the very light land, up to 9.5t/ha on the stronger areas.
“Despite the drought things seem to be hanging on in there. Not sure I can say the same for wheat but let’s remain optimistic until we get the combine in.”