Cereal harvest estimates for Scotland have been revised downwards, reflecting the difficult harvest period and a decline in the area drilled.
Initial estimates from the Scottish government suggested 2015 would see the best cereal harvest in 20 years in terms of yields.
But final estimates of the 2015 Scottish cereal and oilseed rape harvest – derived from the annual Cereal Production Survey – show yields were 5% lower than anticipated, and were largely unchanged compared with last year.
Wheat production however, was estimated at 1m tonnes, the highest on record.
“The 2015 harvest was late to start and, once under way, was halted several times by poor weather conditions, with more fields whole-cropped than usual, which is likely to have impacted on yield estimates,” said a statement from the Scottish government.
“Long periods of wet weather prevent farmers from harvesting cereal grain, and often they will instead cut the whole of the plant and use it as animal feed. When this happens yields cannot be measured.”
The area of cereals planted fell by 4%, which the government said was an expected reaction to crop diversification rules.
As a result, total cereal production fell by 4% to 3.1m tonnes, made up of almost 2m tonnes of barley and 1m tonnes of wheat.
The government’s initial forecast was that the national harvest would be 3.3m tonnes. But spring barley saw a 9% fall in production over the year, to 1.5m tonnes and there was also a reduced crop of oats, which fell to 152,000t.
Compared with last year, wheat, winter barley and oilseed rape production increased. In addition, 406,000t of winter barley and 148,000t of oilseed rape were produced.