The 2023 Grain Harvest and the Factors That Shape It
Curraghmore Estate has been at the forefront of agricultural innovation and dedication since 1167. Our farmyard was the first industrially designed agricultural complex in Europe built in 1840 focusing on grain production and milling.
This year, despite the challenges posed by unpredictable weather patterns, our team led by Ned & Eamon Morrissey have made significant strides in harvesting our ceral crops.
A Glimpse into the 2023 Harvest
On Sunday 3rd of September, thanks to a timely mini heatwave, Ned and his team were able to harvest our grain, completing the 2023 Curraghmore Whiskey grain harvest. This achievement is particularly commendable given the wet spring that pushed back our planting dates and the damp summer that posed challenges for grain fill.
In terms of yield, the results have been encouraging. Our spring barley yields have ranged from 2.7 to 3 tons per acre. On the other hand, our oats are yielding 2.75 – 3.25 tons per acre before the drying process. Our harvest grain moisture levels came in between 16% and 19%.
However, every silver lining has a cloud. One of the challenges we faced this year was the reduced straw yield. The drought conditions experienced during May and June caused our spring crops to head out prematurely. This simply means we won’t have as much straw to sell to the market and use for our bedding down our own cattle and sheep during the winter.
Soil type plays a pivotal role in determining the quality and quantity of grain at harvest. Different soil types offer varying nutrients and drainage capabilities, which can significantly impact the growth of crops.
Our Curraghmore soil is a slightly heavy clay type soil. This isn’t the ideal soil type for malting barley compared to the famous Wexford lighter soil types which are ideal. However, it shouldn’t affect quality and yields as long as you keep the pH levels in the soil to the right degree through certain techniques such as crop rotation. The pH level determines the soil’s acidity or alkalinity, which in turn affects the availability of essential nutrients to the crops.
PH levels varies from 5.5 – 6.7.
Research indicates that both soil type and pH levels have a profound impact on grain quality. A balanced pH level ensures optimal nutrient absorption, while the right soil type provides the necessary support and nourishment for the crops.
Does Field Orientation Affect Crop Yield?
An interesting aspect of farming is the orientation of fields. Whether a field faces north, east, south, or west can influence the amount of sunlight it receives, which can affect crop growth. Research suggests that south-facing fields tend to receive more sunlight in the northern hemisphere, potentially leading to better yields. However, other factors, such as wind patterns and natural barriers, can also play a role. Both our May field and Morley’s field from which we harvested this year are south facing which could have been a factor in why even though we predicted to have poor yield this year considering weather conditions it in fact wasn’t too bad.
At Curraghmore, we always strive to understand and harness these nuances to ensure the best possible harvest for our whiskey.
In conclusion, the 2023 grain harvest at Curraghmore Estate is a testament to our team’s resilience and dedication. Despite the challenges, we remain committed to producing the finest whiskey, backed by a rich legacy of farming excellence from Ned & Eamon Morrissey over the last 26 years.
Bottles of our inaugural release are still available to purchase here, but they are nearly gone!
Watch our 2023 harvest here.