Grow­ers spring­ing in new di­rec­tion

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - NEWS | FARMING - BY GEMMA MACKEN­ZIE

Scot­tish grow­ers are mov­ing away from win­ter bar­ley to spring va­ri­eties, ac­cord­ing to AHDB.

Re­sults from the levy body’s plant­ing sur­vey shows a 5% in­crease in the spring bar­ley area to just over 630,000 acres. The win­ter bar­ley acreage is down 18% on the year.

“Due to the poor au­tumn drilling con­di­tions in much of Scot­land we’ve seen a fair drop in win­ter plant­ing and an in­crease in the spring bar­ley area,” AHDB knowl­edge ex­change man­ager Gavin Dick said. “There are of course re­gional dif­fer­ences across Scot­land – I cer­tainly seem to see a lot more bar­ley in the north-east – and our fig­ures show while the wheat area in the south has de­creased this year, in per­cent­age terms we’ve seen a far big­ger drop in wheat plant­ing in the north.”

The wheat acreage is down 3% to 262,000 acres and, ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey, more grow­ers are opt­ing for Group 3 va­ri­eties, which rep­re­sent a quar­ter of the Scot­tish wheat area. This is up from 14% in 2017.

The oilseed rape acreage has in­creased by 3% to just over 86,000 acres, while the oats area re­mains sim­i­lar to last year at 79,000 acres.

Mr Dick said though there is a clear dif­fer­ence in win­ter and spring plant­ing fig­ures, over­all the to­tal Scot­tish bar­ley area has re­mained static and any change in yield will be down to fac­tors such as weather.

Malt­ing va­ri­eties ac­counted for 71% of the to­tal bar­ley – up from 57% in 2017. Mr Dick said this was due to Lau­re­ate not gain­ing ap­proval un­til the be­gin­ning of last sea­son.

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