Tillage Diary: The fight to save the malting barley


This week Gary and the team fight to save their malting barley, while the combines are not getting much work.

Tillage Diary: The fight to save the malting barley

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  • 2 years ago

This week Gary and the team fight to save their malting barley, while the combines are not getting much work.

After a great start to the harvest things have really come to a stand still. All the stubbles are disced and all straw that was baled has been delivered.

The big problem is there has been no combining done. The combines haven't moved in two weeks, they were busy at the last dry spell and a proportion of spring barley was cut. We have been trying all week to get going but every time a combine moves at lunch time a heavy shower of rain falls, moisture's have been high and we need them to at be least 20%, especially for the malting barley. It is very frustrating but it looks like we might be in for a small weather window this weekend.

We cut some malting barley but unfortunately the moisture was high on some of it, we tipped it in the shed and we kept if moved around and luckily we got 60% of it away for malting. Although we will loose the malting premium on the rest we are glad to have it cut as it was a very good crop and losses would be very high now as it was breaking down badly.

Any spring barley that has been cut so far has yielded from 2.6 up to 3.4. There are some losses that affected the yield, weather and a lot of crow damage are some of the culprits, also one particular variety seems to have struggled this year in our area.

We only have a small bit of early barley to cut but it is now lodged badly and will be a salvage job. It is very frustrating and there are many tillage farmers in the same boat. The later sown barley is standing well and hopefully will yield well.

As we head into the middle of September harvest days shorten a lot, heavy dews at night mean combines will get it very hard to be cutting by lunch time, at the other end of the day the evenings are closing it quickly which means they will be stopped earlier.
The heavy rain over the last twelve days means the ground is also wet meaning straw will be harder to dry.

The combines have been going well, the bigger combine did give some fuel issues, we were stopped for 2 valuable cutting hours but we got it going again to finish where we were, after a lot of head scratching on Monday morning we discovered it was the fuel lift pump that was the issue and it was replaced without too much difficulty.

There is also a lot of straw on the ground in both Wheatin and barley straw and there is no chance to get it dry enough to get it baled. While the Wheatin straw will dry in the swath if it gets good weather the barley straw will have to be turned out to dry, it will them be raked back up in front of the balers. It really is a waiting game with straw on the ground with 3 or 4 good days needed together to get it dry again. This will have a big effect on valuable straw yields but hopefully there will still be enough to meet the still growing demand.

We would liking to be getting oil seed rape sown but unfortunately we can't seem to get two days together to let the land dry enough to work. If not in by this weekend or at the latest early next week we will leave it until the spring.

On other work we have been busy baling and wrapping as grass growth has been very good.
We have also been busy with the disc harrow reseeding ground, the weather is also affecting this a small bit especially on the wetter ground as land is discing up wet and needs time to dry between disc passes.

Every year if we are finished the harvest by the ploughing match we are happy, if we get the weather we will have finished cutting by next Tuesday but I doubt all the straw will be baled, if not we will be missing the ploughing this year.

Hopefully in my next article the weather will have improved, the harvest will be completed and we will thinking about a break before starting into sowing next year’s crops.

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