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.
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.
Winter Barley harvest 2017 has started. The first of the Bazooka hybrid is yielding well at 16-17% moisture and 66kph. pic.twitter.com/v9sfA3E7Cj— Darragh Cleary (@darscleary)
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.”
Not long to harvest. This beautiful winter barley – shot yesterday near Thurlby, Lincolnshire – is ripening well. pic.twitter.com/KdWq5OrgXo— plantmadnige (@plantmadnige)