A combine and a tractor work in a Scottish field© WestEnd61/REX/Shutterstock

Government figures suggest growers in Scotland have achieved record yields for spring barley, oilseed rape and oats.

Despite a dry spell in April and a wet harvest period, spring sowings were well established and moisture came at the right time to boost yields, a Scottish government official said.

For cereals, the overall yield figure is expected to be 12% higher than in 2016 from a slightly increased growing area (+1%) of 433,000ha (1.1m acres).

See also: Challenges UK grain will face after Brexit

Scottish farms are estimated to have produced 3.1m tonnes of cereals – including 1.9mt of barley and almost 1m tonnes of wheat. Overall yields are expected to average a record high of 7.1t/ha (2.9t/acre)

Provisional UK wheat and barley crop sizes

Defra‘’s first estimate of the 2017 UK wheat harvest is 15.2m tonnes, up 5.4%
on 2016 and above the five-year average (2012-2016) of 14.5m tonnes.
The UK 2017 barley crop is estimated at 7.4m tonnes, up 10.6% on last year and well above the five-year average (2012-2016) of 6.7m tonnes.

Within those totals, spring barley accounted for 1.51m tonnes, up 16% on 2016. While this is a slightly lower total than 2014 and 2015, average yields achieved a new record high of 6.2t/ha (2.5t/acre).

7% more wheat

Wheat production, at 988,000t, (equivalent to 9t/ha, or 3.6t/acre) increased by 7% and winter barley at 371,000t was up 13% on 2016.

Oat production is also expected to be extremely high with a forecast 217,000t yield, an increase of 8% on 2016.

It is the largest oat crop grown north of the border since the 1970’s and has achieved off-record average yields of 6.7t/ha (2.7t/acre).

But the biggest year-on-year growth is expected to be seen in oilseed rape with an estimated record average yield of 4t/ha, which is 38% higher than 2016, and gives a total crop of 140,000t.

Scottish harvest provisional results compared with 2016

Crop

Yield (t/ha)

Total yield (t)

Compared with 2016

Spring barley

6.2

1.51

+16%

Wheat

9.0

988,000

 +7%

Winter barley

7.6

371,000

+13%

Oats

6.6

217,000

+8%

Oilseed rape

4.0

140,000

+38%

Source: Scottish government   

However, the Scottish government stressed the harvest north of the border is still under way and that these figures were “very much provisional estimates”.

“The figures are produced from the Scottish government’s annual Crop Report Meeting,” a government official said.

The final harvest estimates will be released in the Cereal Production Survey, published in December.

Read the full harvest statistics on the Scottish government’s website.