6 September 2001
Harvest 2001: Scotland smiles

By Tom Allen-Stevens and Tom Hood

RECENT fine weather, good quality and high yields have put smiles back on the faces of Scottish growers, who are leaping through crops at a phenomenal rate.

Jim Cargill has been harvesting Optic and Chariot at Fettercairn in Aberdeenshire. He hopes to sell it for malting, which is unusual for the farm.

A five year average for the farm is about 2.5t/acre, but we shall do over that this year. Im very pleased with the Optic, he told FARMERS WEEKLY on Thursday (6 September).

Hes now just starting to see some skinning and splits, which is echoed by Dalgety Kenneth Wilson merchant Mark Smith.

There is some splitting, skinning and fusarium problems. The worst hit areas are in the west of Central Scotland around Fife and Perth.

The [wheat] quality looks good so far, with high bushel weights and good Hagbergs. There is a bit of variability on protein but that is expected up here.

Yields have been variable but better than expected for Borders grower Douglas Niven. Protein of his Consort and Claire is about 10% with Hagberg 230-250.

Neil Armstrong reports success with his Malacca, which yielded 8t/ha: The protein is between 12.5-14% and the Hagbergs are over 250.

Hes had average yield and good quality with his Optic. The price is poor for it and the maltsters are not buying much.

Perthshire grower Eric Haggart agrees: The main problem has been merchants not quoting prices. Farmers are unwilling to move spring barley off the farm without a price.

Green grains may be another quality issue to grapple with: There was a lot of late tillering, with tramlines and other patches remaining green for a long while.

The patchy rain continues into Friday in the north, according to the Met Office, while the south can expect drier weather with more brighter spells.

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