Jim Whiteford has had an excellent harvest at Shandwick Mains, Tain, Inverness, with warm and dry weather making for very easy combining.
“It’s been very cheap and cheerful – the weather has just been wonderful,” he said. “We finished weeks ago – it was our earliest finish since 2002 and the second earliest on record.”
Yields had been slightly above average, and quality had been excellent, said Mr Whiteford. “The barley has all gone for malting, and the wheat is back to normal at 80kg/hl, after last year’s rubbish.”
The 93ha of Concerto spring barley had averaged 6.9t/ha, with the lowest nitrogen content the farm had ever had, averaging 1.46%.
“I know other people had problems with higher nitrogen contents – I think it was where yields were lower on lighter land.”
The 61ha of Viscount and Denman winter wheat yielded 9.9t/ha – although it had yet to go over a weighbridge.
“The sunshine has made all the difference to quality this year,” said Mr Whiteford.
However, most crops were still coming off the field at 20% moisture or above, so all had to be dried, he added.
“We’ve now finished drilling winter wheat, and have 16ha of winter barley through the ground – and people are lifting potatoes in the area.”
The only disappointment of the year had been oilseed rape, which yielded just 3.7t/ha off 36ha. “It was lovely quality, but we had too many wet holes and pigeon damage,” Mr Whiteford added.