Last Friday, our 3 kids were happy, they could finally dance around the yard as much as they would’ve like, our 7 year old come up with a deal with the Weather Gods, they wouldn’t dance at harvesting time, rain dance that is, until harvesting was finished! Now that we have officially finished 2015/2016 harvesting season we are all dancing with joy and relief all at the same time! This year was a challenging one, but we are happy with the results.
We had hail storms missing us by the skin of our teeth, right when the crops were looking at its best; this should’ve been a sign that this year’s harvesting would be challenging. You see, when you rely so much on the weather, praying (striking deals with the Weather Gods) and planning are the two best things you can do if you are a cropping farmer. Praying would be to ensure that your relationship with the Weather Gods is kept in check, you never know do you?! But planning is the key, to ensure that all the crops get from the paddocks to the storage silos at the best quality possible. Our contract cropping farmers are the best planners you will ever meet; they are outstanding on their field!
Planning has to take place at drilling time, when to plant the barley will dictate when the crops are ready for harvest. Here at Gladfield farm, because we only grow barley, we drill it in two stages, autumn and spring. Autumn barley goes in April/May and spring goes in August/September.
Now, we had it all planned: The seed ready, paddocks ready, fertilizer ready, tractors ready but, it didn’t matter how well we planned this year, for the spring barley sowing the ground was so wet that we couldn’t get the tractors in the paddock without getting it stuck or making a hell of a mess. So the barley went in at around mid-October meaning late harvesting at the other side. The rain wouldn’t stop, and when it stopped, it stopped for far too long!
Why am I telling you all this? Well, just so you appreciate the work/planning that goes behind the scene to grow the World’s Best barley. The weather can make it or break it. Last year it the weather made it, we had record yields, a lot of credit goes to the growers planning, but we can’t ignore the praying! The Weather Gods answer to all of their prayers, rained at the right time, sunshine at the right time and Northwest winds were at the right speed and time!
We grow Gladfield Malt’s barley in Canterbury, the best place in the world to grow malting barley, but even in the best place in the world it will be times that only relying on praying and planning won’t cut it, you have to have LUCK!
And luck we had when a massive hail storm came around us and barely missed us and our contract growers, we also had luck when a once in a life time -4 oC frost in November hit some of us, but thankfully not all of us. We also had unexpected rain in January that affected the not yet harvested spring barley, but thankfully we had harvest some already meaning quality was intact.
Luck was on our side and not all of the weather events hit us and our contract growers all at once, risks were well managed and we have more than enough worlds’ best barley to turn into Gladfield World’s Best Pure Malt.
Oh wait, was that luck or planning… you decide!