Jim Whiteford has finished combining oilseed rape at Shandwick Mains, Tain, Inverness, and is now waiting for spring barley to ripen.


“Our 25ha (62 acres) of Cracker and Sequoia gave a dried yield of 4.57t/ha (1.85t/acre); our best yield ever, and due, I am sure, to the advanced header technology of our Claas Lexion straw walker.”

Mr Whiteford’s new machine comes 50 years after the farm’s first Claas combine, which was converted from a bagger to a bulker and driven by George Finlay.

Its large capacity would help to get the 263ha (650 acres) of wheat and spring barley in quickly when the weather eventually dried out, he said.

“It’s varying from catchy to downright impossible; we just can’t get on, and heavy machines are struggling to stay on top at times.”

He expected the spring barley to be ready in about a week, with the winter wheat still a fortnight away.

“They look to be excellent crops, with lots of straw.”

Winter barley hadn’t yielded particularly well in the area, but oilseed rape had thrived following the dry spring.

“Everyone is now waiting; it’s all about happen. We’re not late yet – we don’t normally start spring barley until 22 August.”


Crop: Oilseed rape
Varieties: Cracker & Sequoia
Area: 25ha (62 acres)
Yield: 4.57t/ha (1.85t/acre)


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