8 September 1995

Heavy rain frustrates Scottish harvesters

HEAVY rain spread to all areas of Scotland by Tuesday, frustrating growers with crops still to cut.

"Five more dry days would finish everything in the north," says Alan Whiteford from Easter Ross. "But there are still pockets of wheat to cut and quite a lot of spring rape. The wheat is yielding very well but not enough rape is cut to give an accurate picture on yield and quality," he adds.

All but finished

In the central belt, harvest is all but finished, apart from spring rape. Some 25% has been cut, reports Keith Dawson of CSC CropCare. "Some crops have been very disappointing. We are looking at a bigger gap than the usual 10cwt/acre between winter and spring varieties."

Barometer grower Willie Porter is pleasantly surprised by spring barley yields from heavier land. "They have exceeded all expectations," he says, hinting that some fields yielded a staggering 10t/ha (4t/acre). He reports similar yields for Riband winter wheat.

He waited until rain was forecast before drilling oilseed rape, and now has 65ha (160 acres) in a "perfect" seed-bed.

In the Borders, Barclay Forest also welcomed the rain. Earlier showers had sprouted newly-drilled rape seed. "It would have been in danger of dying off if the drought had returned, but is now off to a great start," he says. But wheat combining has ground to a halt with just a few acres left.

In Northumberland, barometer grower Ian Brown completed his harvest near Alnwick on Sept 1, a day earlier than last years start.

Showers interrupted progress, and he is now busy drying wheat which came off at 16-19% moisture. His Hunter yielded just over 10t/ha (4t/acre), "quite a bit better than the last year or two". Specific weights hit 76kg/hl.

"Lovely looking" Cadenza averaged 8.65t/ha (3.5t/acre). But proteins ranged from 8-10%, consigning it to the feed wheat bin.