While hopes were being pinned amongst Orkney farmers for the area enjoy a better summer than last year, for those on the islands still suffering from the ravages of last year’s sunless season, last orders are being called for the scheme designed to help ferry much-needed straw to the area.
The rural charity, RSABI, which has been providing direct help with getting straw to stock farmers on the island, yesterday reminded producers that applications for the Help for Straw Haulage fund will close on 31 May.
Last year’s exceptionally bad weather meant that quantity and quality of silage made on the islands was poor, and there was a huge impact on the harvest across the islands, which meant many farmers struggled to make ends meet.
The charity said that applications to the fund were confidential and that funds were made available if it was shown that a shortage could cause hardship- but figures showed that since the scheme started, 105 farmers had been given assistance to the tune of £74,460.
Philip Bews, NFUS chairman of the Orkney island of Westray said that for many the help had been a life saver. He said: “The mental relief after the straw delivery was palpable, as most farms really were in dire straits.”