Farmer Focus: Yes to harvest, No to Scots independence

I am writing this piece fully aware that it will appear in print the day after the referendum and I sincerely hope that the Scottish electorate have made the right decision by voting No to independence.

I am a very proud Scot and will always support the rugby or football team with fervour, especially against the auld enemy – with no animosity, just friendly rivalry, I should add. But I am also happy to be British.

I cannot see any good reason why we should separate from what has been a very successful union. All I can see if we get a Yes vote is nothing but more bureaucracy, more costs and an exodus of people and businesses and we will end up with a country in a serious mess.

Let’s go back to reporting on farming and the harvest. August was a wretched month, with very squally showers constantly hampering our efforts to get on with the job, but we took every small opportunity to cut and as a result ended up with a fairly large pile of wet grain that cost a small fortune to dry.

Role on a couple of weeks and it’s bone dry. I am irrigating vegetables and all the grain could have been cut dry. Patience is something none of us are blessed with.

Barley yields have been exceptional and all of it went into the maltings this year, which was very good news. Wheat has been a bit of a mixed bag. I was concerned that disease was going to decimate the Viscount, but it yielded better than expected, especially later-sown crops. I only wish I had been more active in the marketplace a few months ago.

So, what varieties to sow again this year? I had written off Viscount and then ordered the variety Leeds as the barn filler.

However, there were tonnes of straw on this year’s crop, but not so much of what really matters, so have I done the wrong thing again?

Oh well, it won’t be such a big mistake compared with the one this country has made if you are reading your 19 September issue that proclaims the demise of the United Kingdom.

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.

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