Spring barley slower to ripen north of the Border

While cereal growers in England are now well through their crops, the situation in Scotland is of a slower to ripen, slightly later harvest.

The spring barley harvest is behind that in England. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Reporting on the state of the spring barley harvest in the Perth area, Robin Barron, general manager of East of Scotland Farmers based in Coupar Angus, said: “Farmers are well on top of their crops which have been slow to ripen.”

Generally samples had not needed much drying and the co-op’s new thousand tonne per day drier had not been fully utilised up until now, although it was starting working 24 hours from last night.

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Malting premiums under threat from '˜skinning'

Those farmers who had cut their grain were coming out with average yields but they were generally of good quality. Nitrogen levels while slightly higher at 1.45 per cent than last year were still well below the cut off level for maltsters.

The main issue, Barron said, was skinning, particularly in samples of Concerto – but even these were mostly within contract specifications and mostly they came off light land crops. “We have had very few lots which are outwith malting specifications,” he said.

Possibly as a result of combine drivers turning down drum speeds to prevent skinning, Barron said a number of consignments had arrived at his co-operative with excessive levels of awns. While he understood why this had been done, he pointed out these loads had taken much longer to handle and there had been problems with augurs gumming up.

“We will have to turn away loads with excessive awn content from now on,” he warned.