Winter barley yields down significantly as harvest progresses

The reality of Harvest 2020 became clearer this week as more crops began to be harvested from areas badly affected by drought this summer.

Winter barley crops in the midlands are not performing well and crops achieving over 3t/ac are the exception. Most recent reports to AgriLand put crops in counties like Laois, Kildare and Carlow at anywhere from 2.25t/ac to 3t/ac or slightly over it.

Moisture contents were as low as 14% in some crops this week, with the majority coming in under 18%.

Some growers are finding crops hard to thresh as grain is ripe, but straw remains green.

Quality is good. KPH is up to 69 on some of the two-row varieties. However, some of the winter malt varieties are poor on KPH and are coming in in the 50s and low 60s.

The north-east

In the north-east reports are of yields ranging from a low of 2t/ac and the best of the crops, which are in the minority, reached 3.6t/ac on very fertile fields. However, the run of yields in the area seems to be between 2.5t/ac and 3t/ac.

KPH is good with figures in the high 60s.

South

On the other hand, crops in the south of the country performed significantly better in the kinder weather.

Six-row varieties achieved over 4t/ac in many cases. While reports from two-row varieties are averaging around 3.75t/ac.

Straw yields in the south are back 20-25% according to reports from farmers and agronomists in the area.

Average yield in 2019

The estimated average yield of winter barley in 2019 was 9.28t/ha or 3.76t/ac according to Teagasc’s Harvest Report for 2019.

This season the average winter barley yield is expected to be down significantly.

Wet weather has now halted progress of both harvesting and baling.