Patrick Kehoe had just brought in the last load of barley when we chatted on Monday and he was happy to have the barley harvest behind him in such good conditions.

The moisture content of his spring barley ranged from 10.6% to 14.8% and while yields are often hit at these levels, Patrick said the trailers were still weighing the same as normal. He put this down to the good bushel weight of 67-68.

Yields ranged from 3.1t/ac to almost 4t/ac, with the majority at the higher end of the scale, and Patrick was delighted with this. He puts the high yields down to the use of cover crops, grazing those cover crops with his own sheep and the addition of organic manures such as chicken manures as well.

On some occasions proteins went a little bit high, but Patrick managed to get most of his malting barley over the line.

Patrick also has a roasting contract with a protein requirement of 12%, so this helped to get a premium for more of his crop. The new air brakes on the trailer Patrick had been doing up also worked out well over the busy harvest season.

Straw is moving out of the fields quickly following the spring barley harvest and stubble cultivation requirements need to be calculated this week.

Patrick managed to get a good chunk of cover crops in after his winter barley. They were planted into ground where the straw was chopped and he was worried this would affect establishment, but the crop is flying. Patrick might put in some more cover crops if the opportunity arises. On average, Patrick’s winter barley yielded 3.8t/ac.

Spring beans are turning quickly, but the nutrition and trace elements applied during the year seem to have helped them to hold their green colour a little longer, according to Patrick. He expects them to be ready for harvest in early September.

Michael Grant’s spring barley is more than two weeks away from harvest, while his winter wheat is over a week away depending on the weather, and he is hoping that a spell of good weather allows the remainder of crops to be harvested in the northwest of the country.

The winter barley harvest was good. All of Michael’s crops passed for malting standard.

He had a great mixture of protein contents, ranging from under 9% to over 10%.

Yield averaged 2.95t/ac and straw was all baled and has been sold to mainly regular customers. He said that trade is slow and steady.

Michael was cutting oats for a neighbour and has been drying grain in the past few days.

He said it is good to have time to deal with any teething problems with the dryer out of the way, before the bulk of crops come in.

Michael Grant's winter wheat is not just ready for harvest yet.

Other jobs which have been carried out include stubble cultivation. Weeds have germinated on this ground and winter barley will be planted.

He is planning on planting cover crops after the winter wheat crop, but will see if weather allows.

Spring barley and winter wheat

Looking ahead to the remainder of the harvest, Michael said his spring barley and winter wheat crops both look well.

They are both ripening nice and slowly and the wheat is standing well. They have not received any heavy rain and crops don’t need it at this stage of the season.

Michael is already looking ahead to next season and while he was thinking of planting oilseed rape it just doesn’t suit his land and rotation at present.

Séamus Duggan was extremely happy with his spring barley yields, which he described as “exceptional” and said there haven’t been yields this high for a long time.

His spring barley is ranging from 3.5-4.3t/ac. Planet barley hit around 3.2t/ac at KPH levels of 66-70. Tungsten barley grown for seed hit 4.3t/ac at moisture contents of 12-13% and KPH levels of 71-72.

Séamus noted that the crop is standing well and that an application of Terpal definitely helped his spring barley crops with straw strength.

Séamus Duggan's cover crop was coming up this week. It was planted approximately two weeks ago.

Séamus chopped the mediocre crops of straw and focused on baling on Saturday evening and Sunday ahead of the heavy rain to avoid any turning or drying of straw on the ground. Straw is moving from fields and Séamus has plenty of regular customers. Approximately 13ml of rain fell on Sunday and Monday. Séamus still has 45-50ac of spring barley to cut, but much of this is only coming ready now.

A cover crop was planted in fields after winter barley approximately two weeks ago and the crop is flying. Séamus planted this as part of the Diageo Regenerative Agriculture project. He direct drilled the crop in with an Erth drill.

Winter barley

When we spoke last, Séamus did not have his winter barley yields finalised. Vessel yielded 2.8t/ac at 17% moisture content, Faye hit 3.6t/ac and Electrum made it to 3.1t/ac. All of the varieties were grown for malting and were in the brewing protein range. Spring barley protein levels were generally lower and hitting distilling quality.

Séamus hopes to get a fungicide and nutrition on to his beet crop in the next week or so. Boron, nitrogen and some trace elements will be applied.