Harvest is about 60% complete in Eastern Scotland, and although yields are close to average, quality is generally excellent.

“The main crop around here is spring barley, and farmers are about halfway through that now,” said Robin Barron, general manager at East of Scotland Farmers.

“Although there are some later crops, farmers will have broken the back of harvest this week.

“And the physical state of the grain is better than we’ve seen for many years, without any of the skinning, sprouting and splitting that we’ve been getting in wet harvests.”

Nitrogen contents were slightly high, at up to 1.9%, but maltsters had relaxed their specifications from maximum 1.65% to below 1.7%, he added.

Spring barley yields were about average, at about 5.6t/ha, with winter barley also on par, at around 7.4t/ha. “Bushel weights are good, and moisture contents are low, although we’re still having to dry the malting barley down to 12%,” said Mr Barron.

This year, the co-operative had commissioned a new 15,000t store at Coupar, Angus, with a new drier capable of processing 138t/hr of wheat or 40t/hr of malting barley. “We’re chucking 1000t a day through that at the moment.”

With winter wheat now starting to come in, quality indications were good, with bushel weights in the high 70s, he added. “I’m not sure what yields will average, but I suspect they will be nothing special.”

Oilseed rape had been surprisingly good, considering how poor it looked in the spring, with most yields at 4-4.4t/ha. “Some of that was from crops that farmers were close to ploughing up in the spring.”

Sample results were reasonable, with no admixture or free fatty acid issues like last year.

Harvest progress was now 10-12 days ahead of last year, although back in line with a normal season, said Mr Barron.

“It’s the first dry autumn we’ve had for a long time, which gives farmers plenty of options when drilling this year.”