Crop Report #2 German June, 9 2016
The Braugersten-Gemeinschaft e.V. (German Malting Barley Association) issued its first 2016 spring barley crop report on April 29. Since then, the German Federal Statistics Office has released estimates of this year’s acreage under spring barley cultivation. This second crop report incorporates these new figures, as well as information provided by the regional barley associations of the German states. Overall, in Germany, some 350,000 hectares are currently seeded with spring barley. This is roughly the same acreage as in 2014, but less than in 2015, when it was 370,000 hectares.
Planting started in mid-March. It was virtually complete in early April. The soils were generally dry with sufficient residual moisture for a uniform early plant development. However, cool temperatures during the day and unseasonably cold nights caused the growth rate to be relatively slow until mid-May. On the positive side, because of periodic rains in adequate amounts tillering progressed well and the growth that did occur was sound. The rains also allowed the young plants to absorb plenty of nitrogen fertilizer, where applied, which also contributed to good tillering and subsequent stem elongation.
During the period from mid-May to mid-June, the weather was very changeable and, on occasion, even severe. Rainfall was persistent and sometimes heavy, while conditions were generally warm and humid. The weather retarded some plant development, and several regions reported elevated levels of fungal diseases, requiring the targeted application of fungicides. On the other hand, the moisture balance in the soil was generally good to very good. Some fields even became so waterlogged that they could not be worked with machinery.
Currently, stocks are starting to develop ears. Conditions for the development of plump kernels seem excellent. Because of the abundant rainfall thus far, it is also likely that this year’s harvest yield will be substantial. However, it is difficult to predict, at this point, how the rains will ultimately effect nitrogen levels. They are likely to be rather low, but much depends on the mineralization of the soil in individual fields, which is difficult to generalize.
In several regions of Germany, the heavy rains produced severe floods. Their overall impact, however, on this year’s spring barley crop is predicted to be only marginal. The decrease in total harvest yields will be only minimal.
The barley varieties planted in Germany this year closely follow the recommendations of the Berlin Program. They key varieties are Avalon, Catamaran, Quench, Solist, and Propino.
The Braugersten-Gemeinschaft e.V. will issue the next 2016 German spring barley crop report in mid-July. It will also contain an early harvest forecast.