Farmers abandoning crops in NE Scotland

Iain Green is into the final stretch of harvest at Corskie Farm, Garmouth, Morayshire, after one of the worst years in memory.

“In the next hour we will finish cutting wheat, leaving just 12ha of oats to do,” he said.

“It’s been the worst harvest I can remember; we had 104mm of rain in 14 hours after Hurricane Bertha and have had 229mm over the past four weeks, so ground conditions are very wet – it’s a real mess.

“Having said that, yields have been tremendous, and all the spring barley we cut has been accepted for malting, which is a bonus.”

Concerto, Maresi and Moonshine spring barley yielded about 7.5t/ha, while Beluga and Riband had probably topped 10t/ha, said Mr Green.

“In some spots yields were reaching 14.8t/ha – and thankfully it’s been coming in quite dry, at 15.8-16.3% today (11 September), which will save on drying costs.”

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However, some of the Beluga had started to sprout in the ear, following 27mm of rain last Friday, he added. “It’s been very warn, which hasn’t helped.”

All of the crops had brackled over following the high winds and rain in August, which had made for a slow harvest.

“We ended up buying an extra four-wheel drive combine and put dual wheels on it – I’m glad I did as it meant we got the barley – which I’d sold forward – cut,” said Mr Green.

“The crops have been laid so thickly that the soil hasn’t dried out at all underneath, so the Heston baler has had to be pulled out of the mud countless times.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do about drilling this autumn – I’m just glad to see the back of harvest.”

Farmers in the area still had about 20% of their crops left to cut, he added. “Our oats are flat, and remaining crops look pretty weathered – some people have abandoned them because of the ground conditions.”

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