Boortmalt has urged growers to have patience this harvest as farmers decide what to do with crops of spring barley destined for malting which have secondary growth.

Secondary growth can affect crop quality and can also making crops difficult to harvest.

Tom Bryan, an agronomist with the company, urged growers to contact their local agronomist or to take samples of crops, which can be tested by Boortmalt, before they decide to desiccate any crops. Crops which are sprayed with a desiccant at any time cannot be used for malting.

In conversation with AgriLand, he described how barley samples which are coming in at present are not failing on green grains.

Boortmalt has taken representative samples from some growers’ malting barley crops in order to get an idea of the potential quality of crops this harvest and, as of now, those results show that spring barley samples have only been failing due to high protein levels.

“Our concern is that growers will make the decision to desiccate before they get the opportunity to test their crop,” Tom stated.

Meeting specifications

According to the company, protein is what crops are failing on at present, but it should be noted that a large amount of samples are meeting protein requirements and otherwise crops are meeting specifications.

Proteins levels tend to be higher on headlands and in certain areas of fields so it could be a case that farmers separate certain parts of fields into different trailers where this is possible. This may also be the case where green grain numbers are higher in headlands or tramlines.

Farmers will be worried about ease of harvesting and how the combine will travel through crops with high numbers of green shoots, but the key message coming from Boortmalt is to take a sample or a number of samples before making any decisions and to have patience for a couple of days.

Protein levels

Early indications are that proteins levels are, in general, at the higher end of the scale.

In previous years derogations have been granted on protein standards. However, derogations have not been granted this year and it is still too early to expect any change to protein specifications if they are to be made.

New intake in Athy

Boortmalt is set to operate a new intake this harvest, opposite its maltings plant in Athy. Intake at the new site is expected to be quicker.

As this new intake opens AgriLand was informed that suppliers of Boortmalt who have delivered to Stradbally for the past two years will not be able to deliver Boortmalt-contracted malting barley to the intake this harvest and, instead, will have to deliver to Athy.

The intake, which belongs to Stradbally Town and Country, takes in a large amount of wheat, barley and oats from the surrounding area and was used as an intake by Boortmalt in 2018 and 2019.