Alec Webster’s combine has hardly turned a wheel for a fortnight at Lower Reiss Farm, Caithness, and there is plenty still to cut in the area.


“It’s just been so wet and windy. I’ve finished my own farm as it was just winter barley, but we just can’t get at the land we contract combine.”

The spring barley and organic oats still looked reasonably well, he said. “It will be spoiling a wee bit now, but there’s no sprouting.

“It’s been quite cold, which has helped. If it brightened up and we could get going they’d be fine – but the forecast isn’t great.”

Pearl and Sequel winter barley at the home farm had yielded slightly below average at 6.8t/ha (2.75t/acre), although bushelweights were good, said Mr Webster.

“There was a lot less straw, due to the cold winter.”

Harvest was now about three weeks behind normal, and farmers still had about half their crops still to cut in the John O’Groats area.

However, ground conditions were still fine, he added. “We just need a spell of good weather.”


Crop: Winter barley
Varieties: Pearl and Sequel
Yield: 6.8t/ha (2.75t/acre)