The first-ever spring barley Yen award was won by Alex Wilcox from Norfolk with a yield of 10.7t/ha. He also took the title for best percentage of potential yield, with 72% of 14.9t/ha.
His crop of Laureate was drilled on 15 January at a seed rate of 350kg/ha and received 110kg/ha of nitrogen in two splits, two fungicides and one plant growth regulator. Manganese and boron were also applied.
Mr Wilcox uses both organic manures and soil conditioners, having seen spring barley performance drop by 2t/ha on new land that hadn't been improved.
"I want spring barley to stop being the poor relation," he says. “That can mean treating it more like a winter barley and getting it to set big ears, so I've been tinkering with its agronomy."
The grain nitrogen in the winning crop was 1.8%. “I have reduced N use from 140kg/ha to 110kg/ha and will probably trim that back to 100kg/ha this year," Mr Wilcox says.