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Changeable weather brings stop-start spring for growers

Growers have been battling a stop-start season due to extreme changes in weather throughout the country.


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Spring fieldwork has been a stop-start affair, according to Scottish growers
Spring fieldwork has been a stop-start affair, according to Scottish growers

In Scotland, a drier spell in March allowed some progress with ploughing, sowing, muck-spreading and fertiliser application but cold, wet weather since then has been a set back and most are now resigned to a late spring and what that may mean for their crops.

 

Crops of wheat, barley and oilseed rape planted last autumn appear to have come through the winter relatively unscathed but are badly in need of rising temperatures to allow growth to resume, growers reported.

 

Willie Thomson, who farms at Wheatrig, Longniddry, said progress had been slow across East Lothian as soil temperatures were low and land was taking a long time to dry out.

 

“Spring wheat and barley sowings are moving ahead on lighter ground and nearer the coast but heavier land is really slow in being fit to sow," he said.

 

“The first tattie planting was seen in East Lothian late last week. Autumn-sown crops are mostly looking well, but are slightly behind in growth stages and oilseed rape crops are taking time to recover from pigeon damage.”

 

John Brown, East Yonderton, Renfrew, said spring work was currently at a standstill.

 

"A period of two to three weeks of dry weather in March allowed dung and fertiliser applications, and some plough work," he said.

 

"However, ground remains wet and cold. Further heavy rain over last weekend means sowing is likely to be late this year. Winter crops are taking up now. Patches of soured out crops are not uncommon due to the high rainfall over the winter, but in the main, it could have been a lot worse."

 

Andrew McFadzean, Dalchomie, Maybole, said after a dry spell in March growers in the area had been hampered by the wet weather.

 

"Most spring beans have been drilled but only a very small amount of spring barley has gone in. Looking round the county, most cropping ground has at least been ploughed. We are now waiting for ground to dry to be able to get on," said Mr McFadzean.

 

Jim Whiteford, NFU Scotland Highland Regional Chairman, who farms at Shandwick Mains, Tain, added: "Spring drilling has been a stop start affair with dry days and wet days."

 

"We managed to sow only 250 acres of spring barley in 11 days.

 

"It’s also been cold. Having said that, the winter crops are looking good in Easter Ross. Winter barley and Winter wheat have received their T0 sprays and the oilseed rape crops are extending nicely.

 

"We have had 24 hours of rain so could be a while before we start drilling again. Also it’s a constant job keeping the geese and swans from devouring winter crops and grass."

 

 


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