2016 Gladfield Malt Harvest Report
Another season has flown past at Gladfield, the harvest is finished and we are all another year older and another year wiser. Like in every business you cannot beat experience so getting older has its advantages. If you remember the last time Gabi twisted my arm back in May 2015 to get pen on paper I mentioned having a gut feeling that we were in for a warm dry winter. Well we got a warm dry winter alright as well as a warm dry spring. Our decision to plant the winter barley early paid off from a moisture point of view but it was a difficult year for growing crops, we have had to pull all the old tricks out of our hat and some, to sneak through.
The winter barley got off to a good start and got its roots down good and deep. The weather stayed dry but the extremes in temperature were hard on the plants. We had 32 degree days followed by -4oC frosts in late November which put pay to any record yields this year. Shifting at 5am in late November with a -4oC frost meant I was cursing the weather!
Frost damage was noticeable in all the early crops but moisture deficit was a bigger issue for the later spring crops sown in September even with irrigation. From early spring right through to the New Year we only received 20mm of rain fall which is about one tenth of what we normally receive. It has been the driest year in my life time – but according to the old man it was drier back in ’73!
It blew in September from every direction, it blew in October and it blew in November, not something it has not done before in Canterbury. We have farmed here for 5 generations we have seen it all and we sure as hell are pleased to see the back of 2015 from a growing perspective. We made it through in the end dodging the hail storms, the yields were down by a third but at least the quality was good and protein levels were spot on. We as farmers have a saying here in Canterbury; “It can give you a hell of a fright but Canterbury will never let you down.” We are lucky we have a good team of growers here in Canterbury growing barley for Gladfield, 45 in fact so don’t panic there will be plenty of high quality malting barley to go around. Our growers are the best in the world at what they do and that is why they grow for us!
Fred and Trev (6th generation growers & 2nd generation maltsters) have seen their first real drought; one thing is for sure it won’t be the last they see. That is the beauty of farming, the unexpected is what creates the challenge and it is what makes it so exciting. We are already rubbing our hands together and getting ready for the next year’s crop another year older and another year wiser- just need to get Trev to stop sleeping on the job!
Gladfield Malt | 721 Dunsandel Hororata Road | Dunsandel | Canterbury 7672 | New Zealand
Gladfield Malt is a proudly 100% family owned and grown craft malting of distinction grown first and foremost with the brewer in mind and clearly grown with passion!