Harvest update: Spring and winter barley being cut in early August

The 2020 harvest is shaping up to be a strange one. The spring barley harvest has started and is set to get well underway in the next spell of dry weather, yet, the winter barley harvest is yet to be completed in areas.

Changeable weather in recent weeks has meant that winter barley, winter oats and oilseed rape harvesting have all been stop-start affairs.

Straw has also proved difficult to gather, but many farmers did manage to get a run at work on Monday and Tuesday of this week which may have made a good dent in straw which remained on fields and remaining winter barley crops.

As spring barley harvest begins, it is the good crops which are going under the knife. Many farmers are still deciding on what to do with fields of spring barley containing shoots at multiple stages of maturity.

Secondary growth is now a major problem. Much of the secondary growth looks unlikely to ripen anytime soon, while many main crops are coming near the point of harvest.

Yield and quality

The common theme in winter barley now looks to be 3t/ac or under, with much of the crop at 2.5-3t/ac. Moisture contents were lower as the harvest went on in many cases so this must also be considered when listening to yield reports.

Quality was generally good – with KPH values in the mid to high 60s. However, some of winter malting varieties – which were planted in small amounts – were reported to have performed poorly on KPH with some under 60.

Winter oats

Winter oats looked promising in many fields throughout the season and some crops are looking good in the trailers with yields at 3.5t/ac in some areas, while other crops are down close to 2t/ac.

Winter oilseed rape

Winter oilseed rape yields are varied. Some reports to AgriLand have been around the 1.5t/ac mark or below, while other crops reached the 2t/ac mark. Once again moisture contents need to be taken into account when reporting on yields.

Spring barley

Early spring barley crops are not looking hectic on yield, but only a small amount of crops have been cut. 2t/ac has been reported to AgriLand with protein contents at 11-12%. The weekend will see more crops ready for harvest.