Harvest is about 80% complete in the Perthshire / Angus area – well ahead of normal and the earliest since at least 2003.
“It’s going pretty well really,” said Robin Barron general manager at East of Scotland Farmers. “Yields and quality have been good, and certainly a lot better than the past two years.”
Winter barley had averaged over 7.4t/ha, with feed varieties at around 8.6/ha and malting varieties closer to the 7.4t/ha mark, said Mr Barron.
“Oilseed rape has come off at about 4t/ha, and I think spring barley is averaging around 6.4t/ha.”
Most crops had come in below 17.5% moisture, which had helped to keep drying costs to a minimum.
The co-operative stores had not taken in enough oats to hazard a guess at yields, but winter wheat had been disappointing, he added. “Yields are up, but not as much as people were expecting. They’re around 8.6t/ha rather than 9.9t/ha.”
See also: Six novel ways to drill your oilseed rape.
Bushel weights were only just over 72kg/hl, compared to 77-78kg in a normal year, but the failure was not varietal, he added.
“I think it’s down to disease – there’s a lot of dust behind the combines.”
However, malting barley quality had been excellent, with spring barley nitrogen contents down below 1.4% and winter barleys around 1.7%.
“That’s very low, but not a problem for the distilling market – it’s more of a concern for the brewing sector.”
With a dry day today (2 September), most farmers were on combining in the area, said Mr Barron. “We’ve been quite lucky as the dry days have mostly come together.
“Ground conditions are fine – although further north they’ve been more of a problem. Provided the weather stays dry farmers around here be at least 90% done by the end of this week.”