Strong winds have had impact on yields

A combine working late to harvest oil seed rape at Maidenhall Farm, near St Boswells.
A combine working late to harvest oil seed rape at Maidenhall Farm, near St Boswells.

In the annual harvest round-up, compiled by NFU Scotland, arable farmers around the country have got off to a slow start but momentum is building.

Winter barley harvest is almost complete – at average to below average yields and quality – winter oats are under way and earlier areas are now moving into spring barley and wheats.

Those growing oilseed rape (OSR) have faced the biggest disappointments with high winds in mid-August shattering seedpods and stripping fields bare just as harvest approached. However, growers are persevering with OSR and plantings of this year’s crop are moving ahead.

For the Borders and East Lothian, the harvest has been slow and sporadic, with OSR suffering due to the strong winds – potentially reducing yields by one to two tonnes per hectare.

Winter barley and oats cut look normal at this present time, with other crops due to be cut this week, weather dependant.

Stuart McNicol, Lothian and Borders regional chairman, said: “Rape yields were excellent until the wind smashed them, and as a result we’ve returned an average yield. We tried cutting Golden Promise malting spring barley but moisture was too high and we haven’t been near it since due to high humidity and east coast harr. We are currently 10 days behind on harvest with no rape planted which is going to give a yield penalty.”

Peter Loggie, NFU Scotland’s arable policy manager added: “We are currently running our annual Combinable Crops Survey 2016 which will help to form an independent harvest estimate for the Scottish Government. We ask all growers to participate, and a form can be obtained by emailing peter.loggie@nfus.org.uk or an electronic survey is available at: http://bit.ly/2bYSIfC.”