Growers springing in new direction
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.