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San Luis Valley Harvest Summary for 2020 Crop Year
The year 2020 has brought its own share of unique challenges, barley farming was no exception with irregular weather events. However, despite these challenges San Luis Valley farmers were able to rise above them and show some impressive yields.
The season started off with favorable conditions in April for planting. May and June turned increasingly hotter and drier while frosts persisted into mid and late June. Difficult early season conditions caused the loss of 7.1% of acreage while other fields had to be re-planted. July brought some much-needed moisture with the typical monsoon patterns and relatively little hail. August had some spotty showers but was relatively mild weather, very favorable for harvesting. September 8th brought an unprecedented 14 inches of snow to the valley floor. Of the roughly 10% of grain still standing at the time, there were no losses as the embryos seem to have been unaffected; however, it has made for challenging combining conditions.
Three barley varieties were contracted for usage at Proximity: Genie, Odyssey, and a small percentage of organic acres. We also contracted some wheat for 2021 production.
Based on preliminary reports with 94.3% of the crop currently harvested, Genie yields were slightly higher than anticipated with 104% average, Odyssey was the true star of the season with a 119% average yield. Organic barley performed only moderately, with less than anticipated average yield of 88%. The season as a whole is anticipated to yield 97.4% of contracted grains with the small deficit coming from acreage lost in the first half of the season.
At a glance quality is rated as very good. No samples were noted as having excessive staining, smut, foreign material, or other undesirable qualities. Average protein ranges were between 9 and 10.5%, average test weights above 50 pounds and average plumps in excess of 95%. At Proximity, malting new crop is underway, as test results indicate it’s vigorous and ready to germinate.
Worldwide 2020 Barley Crop Notes (condensed from BRMJ No 537):
Dry conditions across most of Europe in the last two weeks of September made way for near completion of the European barley harvest. May/June drought conditions across continental Europe created mild to severe crop stress. The overall crop is acceptable in quality and volume, with strong crops in Spain, Scandinavia and Russia.
UK: Southern England had very wet weather during the spring barley harvest resulting in a large percentage of barley going into feed. The last 40% of spring barley to be harvest was ruined by rainfall which persisted in late August and September. Although plumps on winter barley were very good, large proportion of spring barley has a high level of sprouting (or pre-germination) and therefore poor germination.
USA: The US crop, about 4 MMT total, is fully harvested, and along with Canada and stocks, guarantees that good quality barley supply in North America will not be a problem for the upcoming year.
Canada: As of September 25th, harvest in Canada was still challenged by weather. With USA harvest complete and a good quality barley crop ‘in the silo’, attention remains upon Canada as completing harvest during challenging weather was a concern. In the days since, harvest has proceeded, and cooler temperatures are helping to avoid pre-germination risk from earlier rainfall.
Australia: Western Australia is expected to deliver a near average crop while the rest of Australia looks good to excellent. Estimates of the crop range from 10.8 MMT to 11.2 MMT.
Argentina/Uruguay: Most of the South American crop has been planted, and the growing season is now being watched carefully to calculate what may happen with quality and total harvest.
Just a reminder to check with your sales rep if you haven’t already heard about the details on Proximity’s ‘Here Today, Here Tomorrow’ discount.