Scottish mixed-farming units are reporting some pretty good results in a tough year from spring barley variety, Evelina.

Boasting quality grain, early harvest and ample straw, according to Agri-source agronomist, Cameron Ferguson, Evelina will be a key variety for West Coast farmers in particular.

“On account of the high straw yield and earliness of ripening alone, Evelina stands out. We grew it for the first year on two farms and it did extremely well in a trying year.

“It produced a huge amount of straw and achieved a good grain yield and crucially, it ripens early, which is important for Scottish mixed farmers and vital for West Coast farmers who need to get onto the land as early as possible to harvest their crops,” said Cameron.

Evelina has been brought to the market by Cope Seeds and Grain, with seed-supplied by Douglas Gordon, at Alexander Harley Seeds, in Milnathort, who has high hopes for Evelina.

“When Cope Seeds first contacted me about Evelina, I was clear that it was an obvious choice for farmers in Scotland that are looking for a good feed barley and looking for plenty straw to go with it, it has excellent grain quality, minimum screenings, tall straw and an excellent agronomic package,” added Douglas.

Mr Ferguson said that he would recommend Evelina was sown as a second or third cereal, and on fields after grass with higher fertility levels, paying special attention to fertiliser and plant growth regulator (PGR) inputs.

Orkney grower, Grahame Wilson, grew Evelina for the first time this year and said it had been a great success. “What I'm looking for is quality grain, plenty of straw, earliness and health, and I believe Evelina ticked all these boxes.

“The yield was around 5t/ha wet, which given the field was quite reasonable and quality was good. We grew the crop mainly for the straw and we certainly weren't disappointed, getting 365 small square bales and 28 4 x 4 round bales off 2.6ha, which was approximately 5.5t/ha.

“We got it in the ground on April 14, which is about average here, at a seed rate of 185kg/ha but a dry spell followed, which was followed by a week or so of rain and while it came through the ground quickly, the first few weeks were a bit challenging,” said Mr Wilson.

“When sowing, we ran short of seed and finished the field with 50kg of Propino. The difference was very interesting due to the increased straw length of the Evelina, as well as the earlier ripening, possibly a week sooner, and no disease on the Evelina.

“With a fertiliser application of 148-100-100/ha it grew away well in May and June and stayed absolutely clean. In July and August, the weather was OK but not especially sunny, however no disease came into the crop, and the straw length was impressive,” he added.

Gemma Clarke, from Cope Seeds and Grain, brought the variety over to trial in the UK and found that it performed well compared with current varieties. “It’s cheap and easy to grow, has quick establishment and it’s early to mature. It produces high grain yields of excellent feed quality, high specific weights and low screenings.

“The straw is visibly taller than other varieties, it’s competitive against weed problems and produces high straw yields with excellent quality, plus outstanding all-round disease resistance,” she pointed out.