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Initial winter barley yields look promising

Despite long periods of dry weather, growers are reporting good barley yields that are comparable to long-term averages. In many cases, grain drying has not been necessary with most crops being harvested at below 15 per cent moisture in the south of the UK.

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At Dersingham Manor Farms in north Norfolk, all winter barley grown for brewing has been harvested, with Maris Otter yielding around 4.4t/ha (1.8t/acre) and Flagon averaging around 4.9t/ha (2t/acre).


Farm manager, Andy Cooper says: “These crops were grown on very sandy soil and so I was worried that the dry weather may affect the final crop yield, but I am happy with what we have achieved.”


See also: Harvest underway ahead of schedule


Both varieties were harvested at between 13.5-14.5 per cent moisture, eliminating the need for drying.


Crops of spring barley are now being harvested on the estate, the first of which was a crop of Propino, which achieved 6.1t/ha (2.5t/acre). Mr Cooper expects wheat harvest to begin next week [w/c July 17].


Dorset farmer, Andy Sprake is also pleased with the performance of his six-row winter barley hybrid, Bazooka and two-row crop of Infinity, which achieved around 7.4t/ha (3t/acre). “The Bazooka was possibly a little better than the Infinity,” he says.


"I’m happy with that because 7t/ha was about the average for the whole farm last year, and the land we achieved 7t/ha on this year is not our best land – it is a fairly damp field right on the coast with some variable soils.”


The crop was harvested at 13 per cent moisture with an average specific weight of around 64.5kg/hl.

Mr Sprake says he is hoping to make a start harvesting oilseed rape next week [w/c July 17] if the remaining barley is not ready.


Despite intermittent rain stopping play, Norfolk farmer, Will More cut his first crop of winter barley on July 4 – 10 days ahead of last year. He says: “We managed 8t/ha with a crop of Venture. The grain was low in N and okay for screenings, which was a problem last year.”

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