Despite the long growing season and dry harvest weather in the Western provinces, it is important not to delay harvest as mature barley does not stand weather damage as well as wheat. When harvested, the barley kernel should be firm and not doughy in texture and feel. Barley for malt must be uniformly and fully ripe when it is harvested, whereas barley feed may be a bit greener.
A critical factor in determining the right time to harvest is the moisture of the kernel.
Harvesting can occur at a higher moisture level than indicated above, providing you have access to aeration bins that can dry the grain and lower the moisture levels by as much as one to two per cent. This is a proper course of action to take if weather factors dictate an earlier harvest date to prevent mass damage to your crop.
There are several methods of drying your harvested barley in order to achieve desired moisture levels; including aeration, natural grain drying and the use of commercial grain dryers. It is important to note that, when drying, excessive heat will damage your barley and compromise its quality. The temperatures must be carefully monitored based on the end-use. For seed and malting barley, the temperature must not exceed 45°C , while for feed, it can range between 80-100°C .
Regardless of cutting method (straight cut or swath), residue management is an important factor in the health of your soil and the success of future seeding operations. When harvesting, try to achieve a uniform pattern of residue (straw and chaff) spread across a wide area behind the combine.
Most combine manufacturers offer optional straw choppers that provide satisfactory spread of up to 30-35 feet. This is typically the easiest and most effective residue management technique.
“Keep it Clean” is a collaborative, cross-commodity initiative to help remind farmers about the importance of producing quality crops to maintain our reputation for excellence in domestic and international markets. The campaign provides guidelines and tips to ensure contract specifications and shipping requirements are met.