RMI Analytics Crop Tour – 2017 Scandinavia
On August 8th and 9th RMI Analytics conducted a crop tour of commercial barley fields in the South of Sweden (Skane) and in Denmark (Zealand).
On the first day of the RMI Analytics Scandinavian Tour 2017 the group headed from Denmark into Southern Sweden, where barley was seeded later than normal and suffered from an extended period of cold weather during the spring and summer, slowing crop development. The tour heard from Lantmannen that June saw conditions improve but then July brought drier conditions which then into a very wet August, slowing maturation. Harvest in 2017 was expected to start one week behind normal with the tour observing a variety of barley which appeared to be 10 to 14 days from harvest. Expectations for barley seen in Ystad were for yields of between 7-8MT/Ha, with the five-year average around 7.2MT/Ha.
Data presented during the tour from RMI and Lantmannen indicated a switch in varieties into RGT Planet (at the expense of Quench and Propino) with once favored malting barley variety Quench now only very small in acres while new variety Laureatte was expected to take extra acres in 2018. Top varieties grown in Sweden in 2017 were Propino, KWS Irina, RGT Planet, Salome and Quench. The expected exportable surplus in 2017 of malting barley out of Sweden was put at 200,000MT.The second farm visit was to an organic farm producing eggs, malting barley and milling wheat. The tour was told the farmers had seen excellent demand for organic milling wheat and eggs with organic barley also in demand but harder to produce. The variety seen on farm was Salome with an expectation of a yield between 4-6MT/Ha.
Following this, at the last stop in Sweden, the tour visited a field of RGT Planet which was expected to yield 9MT/Ha, compared to last year’s 8MT/Ha, with the farmer saying he thought there would be a larger quantity of grain but lower quality. In the barley observed in the field the crop had good kernel sizes, low disease pressure but many green kernels were still seen with expectations it would be at least 14-16 days until harvest could really get started.
On the trip to overnight accommodation in Denmark the tour heard from DLG about their operations in Denmark to receive, grade, store, sell and ship malting barley using their network of 135 weigh-in sites and 275 segregations across the country. Tour participants heard that DLG receives almost all their grains during harvest meaning up to 150,000MT of total grain can be coming into storage each day. Overall, they aim to have all malting barley received by October 15 with every truck/wagon recorded ensuring traceability back to the field. In the second presentation en-route to Denmark Henrike Vorwerk from the VLB in Berlin discussed mycotoxins, gushing and the presence of red kernels in malt. Ms Vorwerk said as of current research there appears to be no correlation between the presence of red kernels in malt and an increase in the instances of gushing, hence changes in VLB guidelines last year.
Following a dinner and evening at Kragerup Gods the second day of the tour started with a series of seminars on the use of pesticides in Denmark, including glyphosate, from the DAKOFO organization and a presentation from Danish Agro on their 2017 malting barley statistics.
During the first presentation on pesticide use the fallout of German media reporting on trace amounts of glyphosate was discussed and how Danish farming organizations have moved to deal with its use. Denmark and the UK, are the only countries in the EU to allow the use of glyphosate pre-harvest to desiccate crops. But, the tour heard in 2017 DAKOFO members have moved to prohibit contracted malting barley growers from using glyphosate pre-harvest with Danish farming organizations also telling farmers to cease the practice after pressure from maltsters and brewers. In 2017 a monitoring strategy will sample 120+ shipments of barley (including directly harvested and from on farm stored barley) with maltsters to verify the results of grain compilers/cooperatives. Following this presentation Danish Agro discussed how the season had developed in Denmark, the variety split in 2017, as well as what their expectations were regarding harvest. Over the winter Danish Agro said conditions in Denmark were warmer than usual with only 30% of the 10-year-average rainfall (129mm) coming to the country, leading to lower soil moisture. Following winter the start of spring was warm and wet with drilling going from March to early May, longer than usual due to excessive rains in mid-April. Entering June conditions were cold and dry with 94mm of rain coming during the month. Finally entering July conditions remained cold with varying amounts of rain falling across the country, only just exceeding the average. Fertilizer application was higher in 2017 with farmers able to add 153kg/Ha of nitrogen to land in the JB 7 category (the best soils) with average applications between 130-140kg/Ha. In total expected harvest would be 3.8m MT (3m spring barley, 800,000MT winter) with a total exportable surplus of malting barley somewhere around 1m MT, depending on the selection rate. Danish Agro also mentioned the biggest influence on the harvest right now is weather, with further rain at the end of the week expected to slow harvest again after a good start to the week.
Following the presentations the group joined farmer Olav Ditlevsen to hear about his endeavors on the farm and see freshly harvested grain, as well as some yet to be harvested in the field. During this tour the group saw freshly harvested RGT Planet which had been harvest early due to fears excessive rain would cause damage to the crop. In the harvested barley kernels were still too wet and were expected to shrink with many green grains still observed. In the field barely was observed to be still at least a week off harvest, perhaps ten days, with yields of 8.3MT/Ha expected but quality would take a small hit due to early harvesting. From here the group traveled to a neighboring estate where an excellent crop of KWS Irina was seen in the field. Some fusarium was seen on plants but the crop was broadly healthy and ripe with an expected yield of the 5-year-average of 7.1MT/Ha.
From here during the transfer to the next farms DLG presented their view on the harvest reporting they had received 14,000MT of barley in the south of Denmark with HL weights of 65-67kg/HL, screenings between 90-95% and protein of 10.3% with the expectation the harvest would be fully running next week. As well as this news DLG presented their expectation for the 2017 harvest, with their opinion the spring barley harvest would be 3.08m MT and the winter barley harvest 749,000MT and the final available export surplus of malting barley (excluding already traded amounts) 705,000MT. Regarding the variety split in Denmark KWS Irina was seen as the most grown followed by RGT Planet, Evergreen and Quench.Heading into the last farm visits the group saw some excellent quality KWS Irina variety barley, freshly harvested at 10-11% with excellent color, no obvious disease pressure or green kernels present. From here the tour visited the field from where the barley was harvested and again the barley looked excellent and was ready to harvest, with the farmer set to bring it in during the next day.
During the next two farm visits two further large fields of KWS Irina were seen with both ready to harvest and yields of 7.5-8.7MT/Ha expected on the first field and 7.7MT/Ha on the second field.
All in all the tour group left Denmark and Sweden much more confident about the state of grain, with Sweden now known to be late while the inspected areas of Denmark ready or almost ready for harvest and in good shape. Now weather conditions need to remain favorable (sunshine/little rain) over the next ten days to see harvest progress rapidly and the quality malting barley to enter storage before any quality is lost in the field.
This is the fourth RMI Analytics crop tour of 2017 and we would like to offer our sincere thanks to gold sponsors Copenhagen Merchants, Danish Agro, DLG and Lantmannen, silver sponsors Evergrain, Sejet and Svenska Fodder and bronze sponsors Breun, Eurofins and Viking Malt.
Thanks as well go to local farmers and cooperatives who opened their doors to the tour group and shared their passion for growing malting barley.
Finally, it’s important to thank the participants, who make this unique malting barley industry networking opportunity such a success.
The next RMI Analytics crop tour will be held in Alberta, Canada from August 27-29.
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