Slow start near Kelso

Stuart Fuller-Shapcott has had a slow start to harvest at Sweethope, Kelso, in the Scottish Borders, but has now cut most of his winter barley.

Some 25ha of pearling winter barley had yielded rather badly, although quality ought to be good, he said.

“You have to remember barley doesn’t like a cold wet start, which is exactly what we had. In some cases we were using two tractors to pull one plough.”

In contrast, 10ha of Pearl winter barley was looking reasonably good.

“We nearly started on the Pearl barley yesterday (20 August) afternoon, but the moisture content was just slightly too high at 19%,” he said. “To reach malting quality, we’ll be leaving it another two to three days.”

Mr Fuller-Shapcott had sprayed off his 77ha of oilseed rape over the past week, and planned to combine it in about a fortnight’s time.

Alongside this, he had 100ha of spring wheat and barley, which were looking good and would be ready to go within the next week.

“We put in more spring crops than usual this year,” he said. “Rather than risk losing an entire crop of winter wheat, we gave up drilling last year and moved onto spring crops, which was definitely the right thing to do.”

In total, Mr Fuller-Shapcott only lost one field of winter barley, which he redrilled to grass that is due to be silaged next month.

“The cracked ground from the dry weather we’ve had shows every sign of last year’s damage,” he added. “It’s clear we won’t be straight from last year until next year.”

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