Variable yields on Berwickshire soil

Scottish Borders farmer Colin McGregor had only 120ha (200acres) of winter wheat left to cut from 688ha (1720acres) in Coldstream, Berkwickshire.

“We got an early start on the wheat as it was exceptionally dry here until the end of July and now only have 17% left to do.”

He said this affected yields since they were variable depending on the moisture capacity of the soil. Quality had been good and he was happy with bushel weights, but moisture levels had varied.

“We’ve had five inches of rain in the past three weeks and have just been catching combining between showers.”

Mr McGregor was not yet concerned for the quality of remaining crops. “They may be getting a bit darker, but they have kept the quality.”

Gladiator, Istabraq and Claire had done particularly well over Consort, Cordiale and Access. But he said Robigus had been very variable.

“Quite a few have finished in our neck of the woods. It has been particularly dry here and crops were burning up at some stages.”

All 104ha (260acres) of Optic spring barley met malting specification, but he said Nitrogen levels were slightly high due to the dry weather.

“The 17-year average is 635mm rain in a year. Last year we had 428mm up to July and this year we only had 227mm, so this is where our problems are.”

He said yields were reasonable and about average.

“Overall, because of the weather, it has been pretty reasonable. We expected a lot worse so we’ve been pleasantly surprised.”

He had drilled 320ha (800acres) of oilseed rape of 480ha (1200acres). “It has gone in very quickly and in very good conditions.”

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