So far so very good. It is always extremely difficult, indeed dangerous, to make predictions about Islay’s notorious growing season, but we have had an excellent summer so far during 2013. Things have not gone to plan of course, they rarely do, but the end result is looking decidedly promising so far as our all-important barley crop is concerned. We can never relax until the grain is harvested and safely in the shed, but the prospects for Islay Barley 2013 are just fine right now.
We started the annual growing season back at the beginning of April with an uncharacteristic cool but dry spell and some farmers growing for Bruichladdich took the risk of sowing early, hoping that the remaining flocks of hungry wild geese would not do too much damage, and that a late frost would not nip the germinating grain.
That worked out quite well, but those farmers who had decided to play it safe and delay sowing until the end of April or beginning of May were suddenly faced with a prolonged spell of cold wet weather that prevented them getting onto the fields with their tractors. Some did not get the seed in until the very end of May. Loo late really. We feared the worst.
The worst did not happen. The cold wet spring turned into a long warm summer bathed in lots of sunshine, with a few showers every now and then to keep things moving. It has been a great growing season, and the barley is now starting to turn golden as it ripens. Even the late sown crops have all but caught up.
There is optimistic talk of harvesting in August. That would be amazing. Much could still go wrong, but we Laddies are optimistic by nature. It is going to be fine…
Our picture shows the photographer William Cooper-Mitchell in a field of ripening malting barley at Gartbreck on the banks of Loch Indaal. The village of Port Charlotte can be seen in the distance.