Scottish harvest catching up

Farmers have cut a massive amount of cereals in Scotland over the past fortnight, but yields and quality are extremely variable.

“The good spell of windy weather for the past couple of weeks has transformed the job,” said Agrii agronomist Jim Rennie.

“Everything was miles behind, but the amount of acreage covered in the past couple of weeks is spectacular.”

Covering an area from Yorkshire to North Scotland, Mr Rennie had seen plenty of crops this harvest, some good and some not so good.

“South of the Forth harvest is well through and nearly finished,” he said. “Those that aren’t finished are only likely to be have three or four days of cutting left.

“Even further north to Inverness and the Black Isle there’s probably only five or six days left. Aberdeenshire is always later, but they have a fair bit left to go.”

Wheat yields had been variable and bushel weights were poor due to the lack of sun, said Mr Rennie.

Heavier ground was doing less well than lighter soils, with some early sown crops flowering during the worst of the weather.

“A lot of crops have been affected in the ear, which has directly impacted on yield. Generally those crops were the first to combine and were fairly disappointing, but once we passed through those crops, yield picked up.”

Looking ahead to autumn sowings, worries at the end of August about the lack of rapeseed sown had been quashed following a good spell of weather.

“It’s quite amazing really. We had reports from agronomists that the acreage of rapeseed would be right down but I’d say the actual level has come right up to level with last year,” he said.

“Later drilled crops have emerged quicker as there is plenty moisture in the soil, so we’re probably not any further behind a normal year.”

Barley plantings were well underway, too. “Early indications suggest that in Scotland the winter barley acreage could be up a little.

“It’s too early to say on wheat but some people are unlikely to get their first choice of seed for certain varieties.”

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