Although there is still some way to go in securing this year’s cereal harvest, the first ten days of September have seen a large acreage cut in Scotland.
Andrew Moir, chairman of the combinable crops committee of NFU Scotland, said he was now combining his wheat, but he was “as far as we can get and we will now need to leave it for a few days to ripen”.
On his wheat acreage taken so far, he reckoned the yield was down 15 per cent to 20 per cent on last year, and the bushel weights were just either on the bottom limit or a kilogram or two below.
He said: “It is not a disaster, but the loss of yield and the drop in quality takes the cream off.”
He has no spring barley himself, but said that most barley crops in his part of the country – he is at Laurencekirk – were now cleaned up. From his contacts in Aberdeenshire, he reckoned that 50 per cent to 60 per cent of spring barley had been combined in the past week, with slightly more than that harvested in Morayshire.
Yields of spring barley had been mixed, rating them as middling to poor south of Laurencekirk, but with some quite stunning quality crops coming off in the north.
In the Borders, Doug Niven at Whitsome Hill, Duns said he was getting well into his wheat crops after what he said was only the third good week of weather this season (the other two being in March and May). Yields were “nothing special but not a disaster”. So far he reckoned he could be back two tonnes per hectare back on last year.
He has also completed sowing his oilseed rape crop and it is chitting well in the damp soil. He had abandoned minimum tillage in some areas, moving back to conventional ploughing to ensure the crop went in the ground in good condition.
In Fife, NFUS vice-president John Picken said he had harvested his oat crop but had not yet started wheat. He has no barley crop of his own, but said that neighbours were reporting a very mixed bag of results. However, he was confident the Scottish barley crop would satisfy the needs of the drinks industry.
With still a lot of harvest to do, he was concerned the weather did not seem to be settled, especially as any more rain could add dramatically to drying costs.
He said: “The price of diesel now makes it one of the main costs of growing grain.
“Potentially if I have to dry my grain I would average out at 95 litres of diesel for every acre of grain. At 70p per litre that makes it twice the cost of seed. While we are fortunate to get red diesel, the government should look at its tax policy.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 5 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west