Despite the Met Office’s ninja showers, we have now completed our harvest.
It was one which we were not looking forward to as the Laureate spring barley looked fairly poor during the early drought conditions.
However, the near perfect growing season following the drought, with long hours of sunshine and an almost daily shower has helped in conjunction with the chemical potions of nearer 7.5 tonnes per hectare (3t/acre) than our usually expected 5t/ha (2t/acre) on similar ground.
The barley is of good malting quality apart from there being too many skinned grains, the reason for that we are not quite sure.
Our organically-grown oats remained upright despite there being no growth regulators applied and were harvested last Saturday. These were rolled and treated with propionic acid on Tuesday and achieved a yield of 5t/ha (2t/acre) at 19.5 per cent moisture.
Straw, which we thought was going to be in short supply, is averaging 16 bales/ha (6.5 bales/acre) at an average weight of near 225kg.
It has been a good year for the sheep enterprise on our farm, with prime prices remaining firm at about 210p/kg liveweight and strong lambs well into the high £90s and top heavies making more than £100/head.
The breeding sales are also going well, with average prices for all breeds and classes up on the year – some as much as £40/head. We sent off 81 lambs to Huntly market this week and will wait to see what they come to.
It is a source of considerable aggravation that we cannot see them sold as it is the final part of the job which gives you satisfaction and financial reward for your hard work. Being a born and bred Aberdonian I quite like the feeling of the cheque in my hands.
We were due this week to start drawing cows off and to reduce our numbers, however with the closure of the Millers Plant at Grantown for two weeks due to Covid-19 this has been stopped in its tracks.
As the plant is closed so is my supply of Highland beef for our shop and farmers’ markets. It is a good job my chiller was well stocked prior to the shutdown. Almost every negative this year can be traced back to Covid-19 and it does not look likely we will see the end of it for a long time.