Arable Farmer Focus: Good wheat yield for Neil Thomson

We were very fortunate to have had a spell of fantastic weather recently, with the result that most of the harvest was completed in this part of the world by the 5 September.

By all reports wheat yields in the Borders have been staggeringly good, and I am pleased to say ours have been, too, with yields above average.

No variety disappointed, but Viscount was the star performer. Don’t expect me to give you an exact figure – that is between me, the bank manager and (only if it’s good) the neighbour.

It was no surprise, however, that the spring barley yields were poor. None of it had a happy growing period but, interestingly, the Tipple that was sown at a low seed rate, thanks to a miscalculation, was the best yielder.

There have been no problems with the quality, all of it making malting standards quite easily this year. Not one load has been rejected. I wonder why? We will continue to grow spring barley as it has only let us down this year.

It seems a lifetime ago that we were harvesting our high erucic acid oilseed rape. It produced a respectable yield despite looking pretty shabby during the winter.

Only the beans remain in the field to combine, but I fear that they will be a real disappointment this year, judging by the view from the sprayer cab while desiccating.

The only downside to the good weather has been the continuing need for the irrigators on the vegetables. The recent high winds have sucked the moisture from the ground, causing huge patches of cauliflower plants to drop their leaves, exposing their crowns, as if surrendering to the onslaught, and causing me an enormous amount of angst.

We are, as I write, furiously harvesting both broccoli and cauliflower and I wont be surprised if, before too long, my crew start to flag and plead for a day off. Nae chance.

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