With the Roundup now applied to some of the spring barley crops, we are on the short countdown to harvest.
The crops are looking okay, meaning we are not too excited but they are not at the moment being written off altogether.
Late small green tillers may cause an issue and potentially spoil the quality of the samples for the maltsters.
Another fly in the ointment of this year’s harvest might be problems with movement of grain off farm as we have already been given forewarning of grain moving slower due to difficulties with new procedures introduced to cope with Covid-19.
This may, in turn, mean that payments will be slower in coming months for the grain, with our group giving first payment on the grain three weeks after uplift. No uplift, no payment. Covid-19 really is a problem which keeps on giving.
The effects of shutdown in Aberdeen have also spread to Aberdeenshire and Banffshire.
Aberdeen’s bars and casinos are a mecca, with many youngsters flocking to the bright lights of the city and, in this case, some returning home with more than just the usual hangover.
Returns from the start of the autumn sheep sales look very encouraging for sellers, with good gimmers being a very strong trade, with middle of the road types even dearer, which is so often the case when things are good.
Store lambs too look very dear, but there is plenty of grass aftermath available and with prime lambs still £10-15 per head dearer than this time last year, it is no surprise that store prices are firmer.
We are currently assessing how well or badly the various enterprises are coping with the restrictions that our new-found organic status brings.
With two years’ experience now we have found that growing wholecrop with a mix of barley, oats, peas and vetches undersown with a medium-term grass mix with extra clover gives us from 15-25 bales/hectare, with the bales weighing in at 850-1,000kg.
The grass does recover rapidly after cutting and provides good clean grazing for lambs.
The grass which was established in this way last year has provided grazing for 60 two-year-old Highland cattle and 120 ewes with lamb at foot over the 17 hectares.
Our first crop of organic oats are looking fine and are all standing and are starting to ripen-off.
I estimate they should be ready to harvest in roughly two weeks’ time.