Farmer Focus: Earliest harvest for years

This month’s article will be met with approval by those of you who like a bit of farming in it. You see, I can report that harvest is well and truly under way, the earliest start in many years.

I am writing late in the evening of 4 August after a busy day finishing off the later crops of Hear oilseed rape and taking our first nibble into a field of Concerto spring barley which – according to the technology in the combine cab and our ancient, yet extremely reliable, weighbridge – is yielding very well.

It’s a pain in the neck weighing every load, but we have done so for years now and I am loathe to stop, despite the fact I am using a trailer that only just squeezes on to it.

Now the wait is on to see if the crop meets malting standards. I sincerely hope so after having had two dreadful spring barley harvests.

It is a relief to report that we have finally finished planting the broccoli. Francas, our Lithuanian vegetable supervisor, now only has a couple of weeks respite before the harvesting circus of that crop resumes.

The crops are looking OK and I have managed to avoid any expensive irrigation so far, but looking at the weather forecast on the telly in the corner of the room, it seems I may not need it later this week either.

I had my son and a group of his friends picking wild oats at the start of their summer holidays, and I only heard the other day of the trick he played on his friend Katie. Angus spotted her walking through an area of crop that had been used for a field trial and had loads of wee red flags dotted around.

He remembered his trip to the battlefields of WW1, where it was explained to them that red flags are now used to denote the location of a possible unexploded piece of ordnance. So he called Katie and told her that she was in a minefield and beware of the flags. Apparently you could hear her scream from miles away.

Neil Thomson farms 607ha in partnership with his father and brother from Caverton Mill, Kelso, on the Scottish Borders, growing combinable crops and brassicas. Some of the mainly medium loam is let for potatoes, and the farm also has cattle and sheep.

Catch up with all our arable Farmer Focus writers