It's set to be the latest harvest for many a year
The bad weather of the last few weeks has led to a very 'stop start' type of harvest. With some winter barley crops still to be harvested it is the latest harvest of winter barley that I can remember. Spring crops are also at least a week to 10 days behind normal.
This could be the latest harvest for many a year. Notwithstanding this there are good yield reports.
As usual there is variability in yields from 3 to 4.5t/ac. Quality has been generally good with bushel weights from 66 to 72 kph. Crops that were desiccated pre-harvest are coming in at least 2pc dryer and leaving straw in a fitter condition for baling.
Straw yields are good with at least 2t/ac however demand is slow. Price indications are for €20 for 8x4x3 bales and €8-10 for 4x4 round bales ex-field.
With straw difficult to sell this is the year to chop and incorporate it. Straw is worth a minimum of €40 per acre as fertiliser and greatly improves potash levels.
High straw volumes however can be difficult to incorporate and decompose. On the ground treatment with either liquid urea or molasses will help its breakdown.
Some of the yield variability can be put down to the presence of grasses and particularly brome in winter barley crops. In addition to sterile brome, meadow, soft and false bromes are now also common.
Some growers have given up on winter barley because of infestation levels.