Spring Barley 2022: Updates from Beal Farm

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 March 28, 2022, a total of 16 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 1

In the first episode, David chats about:

  • The sowing of cover crops in the field over the winter.
  • What the impact of having cover crops in the field it is hoped there will be.
  • General weather conditions and getting the crops moving.

Spring Barley Crop Update – April 25

In the second episode, David chats about:

  • The crops rowing up well after 30mm rain shortly after sowing.
  • The positive impact the cover crop trial has had on the soil.
  • The need now for some rain after a couple of weeks without significant rainfall.

Spring Barley Crop Update – May 19

In the third installment, David chats about:

  • A much-needed 21mm rain after a dry few weeks.
  • Combating weeds and managing disease pressure.
  • The difference in appearance and colour between some of the plots.

Spring Barley Crop Update – June 6

In the fourth installment, David chats about:

  • Dryness of the ground after just 16mm of rain in the past three weeks.
  • Awn appearance on some of the earlier varieties.
  • Guarding against the disease rhynchosporium.

Spring Barley Crop Update – July 1

In the latest episode, David chats about:

  • How 25mm of rain has set the crops up perfectly for the grain fill period
  • The differences in earliness between Firefoxx and Laureate / LG Diablo
  • The cleanliness of the crops

Spring Barley Crop Update – July 26

In the latest episode, David chats about:

  • How the recent heatwave has accelerated crop growth
  • How the major distilling varieties Laureate and LG Diablo are looking
  • The performance of some winter barley varieties that have been cut already

Spring Barley Crop Update – August 18

In our harvest day episode, David chats about:

  • Early indications on the yield of the trials site
  • The performance of spring barley varieties in McCreath Simpson & Prentice’s trading area
  • The cover crop trial that will be taking place again over the winter

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