Harvest survey can help NFU in negotiations

Despite the often hectic schedule with combines running at all hours to make the most of the current spell of settled weather, NFU Scotland has called on growers to help with the annual harvest survey.

Willie Thomson, NFU Scotland’s Combinable Crops Committee chair, said that the better informed NFU Scotland was, the better placed it would be to hold discussions with industry and government.

“The signs are that this year’s harvest has been a good one,” said Thomson, “but NFU Scotland wants a bit more detail than that, and we’re urging farmers to complete its 2021 harvest survey.

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“We need to know what is going on across Scotland, otherwise we rely on data from the major cereal growing areas of the UK, which doesn’t always best represent our members’ businesses.”

The figures provided will also be used to add weight to NFU and AHDB’s harvest forecasts and shared with both Scottish and UK governments to provide the most accurate harvest forecasts.

The union’s crops policy manager, David Michie added, “This information helps us identify regional issues that could bubble up further down the line.

"The hot, dry summer in the west has forced some farm businesses to start feeding this year’s silage, which could make grain availability very regionally important this winter.

“The information provided by the survey will be incredibly valuable to our regional and wider policy team.”

He explained that the survey only asked for crop yields and areas, took about five minutes to complete, and should be carried out when harvest was either finished or nearly finished.

“Members who complete this year’s survey before the 26 September deadline will have the chance to win a bottle of whisky!” he added as an additional incentive.

“As summer turns to autumn, and with harvest ahead of schedule, NFU Scotland is urging farmers right across Scotland to take a few minutes to complete its survey.

“A few minutes of time multiplied up across farms throughout Scotland would add up to a powerful data source that can be used for the benefit of farmers throughout Scotland.”

Meanwhile, the cuts in global forecast of wheat production has supported the price of wheat in recent weeks and helped the traditional dip on prices just as Scotland’s crop came under the combine, questions have also been raised about the quality of much of what is available on the world market.

AHDB Cereal and Oilseeds said that while weather conditions meant that the UK was generally an importer of milling wheat, much of this came from Canada, where international estimates had cut production levels by four million tonnes to 24.5 Mt.

And while the EU accounted for much of the rest of hard wheat imports, both the French and the German harvest had been delayed by weather events, with fears expressed on quality.

The combination of these factors had led to UK milling wheat standing at £225.50, £22 higher than last year.

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