Each year, we operate a Spring Barley Variety Trials site at Beal Farm in Northumberland, UK.
The purpose of having this site is that it allows us to assess current barley varieties, as well as new, up and coming barley varieties on a field scale basis. You can read – and watch – more about this in our Introduction to UK Barley blog and video HERE.
The site also assists the agronomy team at our agricultural merchanting division McCreath Simpson & Prentice (MSP) with the advice and expertise they are able to offer their farming customers.
On April 1, 2021, a total of 17 spring barley varieties were drilled. Some are brewing-only varieties, others distilling-only varieties and also some dual-purpose (brewing and distilling) varieties.
Throughout the growing season, Agrochemical & Technical Director David Cairns will be providing regular updates on the spring barley varieties. We’ll post these in chronological order below.
Spring Barley Crop Update – April 19
In the first episode, David chats about:
- How the trials site was drilled with sustainability at the forefront.
- The spring barleys beginning to row up.
- The need for some rainfall to get things moving.
Spring Barley Crop Update – May 7
In the second episode, David chats about:
- The importance of 20mm rainfall in the past week.
- Root systems with close-ups of how good they’re looking.
- Plant health and what we’re doing to maintain that throughout the season.
Spring Barley Crop Update – May 21
In the third instalment, David chats about:
- The soil structures that have led to very good rooting on the crops.
- The tillers that have developed and the contrast to last year.
- His plans moving forward over the next couple of weeks.
Spring Barley Crop Update – June 4
In the fourth instalment of our spring barley updates, David chats about:
- Protecting against the yield robbing disease rynchosporium.
- Managing the thickness of the crop.
- The growth stages the barley is currently in.
Spring Barley Crop Update – June 21
In the fifth update from our spring barley variety trials site, David chats about:
- The difference in maturity of some of the varieties.
- Awn appearance and application of final fungicide.
- The need for a little bit of rainfall.
Spring Barley Crop Update – July 2
In the latest update from our spring barley variety trials site, David chats about:
- How 20mm of rainfall has helped to progress the crops.
- Why he believes we won’t have an early harvest this year.
- His happiness with the height of the crops so far.
Spring Barley Crop Update – July 20
In the seventh instalment of our spring barley updates, David chats about:
- The impact of the extreme heat on the crops’ progress.
- The continued difference on maturity of the varieites.
- The performance of some of the winter barleys that have been cut so far.
Spring Barley Crop Update – August 12
In the eighth video from our spring barley variety trials site, David is joined by Seed Director Paul Huntley for a more in-depth update, where the pair chat about:
- Each individual brewing, distilling and dual-purpose variety.
- Each variety’s market popularity and agronomic strengths and weaknesses.
- Some of the potential varieties of choice for the future.
Spring Barley Crop Update – September 1
Exactly five months after the trials were drilled on April 1, it was harvest day on September 1. In this episode, David chats about:
- How the barley looked prior to being harvested.
- Early signs of performance following harvest.
- What’s next for this particular field in preparation for 2022.
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