The weather in Central Scotland this last couple of weeks has definitely veered in the direction of winter. Relentless rain has halted most field work and the snow on the hills will keep the watercourses topped up.

 

Potato lifting has just about finished with odd bits being abandoned. Many of the sown fields have water lying in them. Winter barley, particularly crops on heavier soils, are showing signs of stress and are rapidly changing from green to yellow. Compacted end rigs are going to suffer badly if soils do not get a chance to dry up soon.

 

Protecting any oilseed rape crops that have not yet had their light leaf spot treatment will be something of a challenge. The benefit of protection in the autumn, especially if we get a long cold winter, is not in doubt so any opportunity to get the sprayer going must be grasped.

 

The most appropriate products are those based on prothioconazole, giving good protection without being too harsh on backward, stressed crops.

As I mentioned last month Planet (Scotland) has arrived. How’s that for an incentive to don wellie boots and brave wind and sleet rather than more dreaded paper work!

 

The other bits of bureaucratic activity affecting us north of the border are mapping queries. Smugly, we thought all our mapping problems had been sorted in the mid 90s. Oh no! The EU Commission has been leaning heavily on the Scottish Government and we have been threatened with removal of all of our singe farm payment, not only this year but in years gone by, if we do not map every morsel of non-agricultural land. Don’t mention impenetrable bracken or gorse.

 

Finally, on matters bureaucratic, the Pack Report on the future support for agriculture in Scotland was published last week. Hopefully the various sectors of the industry will not tear it to pieces.

If we can have something on the table in Brussels before any other suggestions are cast in “tablets of stone” then there is a possibility the future for UK agriculture post 2013 will not be too dire. On that optimistic note, can I wish all and sundry a peaceful winter.