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Strong early results for harvest despite weather concerns

Despite concerns the prolonged dry weather would see crop yields tumble, early reports suggest cereals have fared well and are in line with long-term averages.

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Greg Dawson, Scottish Agronomy said winter barley on its Borders and Fife trial sites saw yields and specific weight ahead of average.

 

“As regards commercial crops of winter barley the quality and yields are good except in the minority of cases where crop establishment was difficult,” he said.

 

“The drought generally seemed to come too late to effect winter barley yields.”

 

Alistair Greenhill at Westhall, Kellas, near Dundee has combined the two row feed variety Cassia and estimated the yield at 3.5 tonnes per acre ( 8.6 t/ha) with a good swath of straw still to bale. The grain had come off the combine at 17.5 per cent moisture.

 

Hugh Black at Backboath, near Forfar has harvested two field of Tower winter barley with the first yielding 4.1 tonnes per acre (10.12 t/ha) at 16.1 per cent moisture and second yielding 3.6t/ac (8.89 t/ha).

 

“That is actually up on last year and there is good swath of straw as well,” he said.

 

 

Colin Mitchell farm manager at Meikleour Estate, Coupar Angus has no winter barley but he thought he would be combining winter rye by the early days of August. Wheat on lighter land would be ready around the same time.

 

Over the mix of soils on the estate he was predicting wheat yields of 7.5 to 8 t/ha compared to 9.5 t/ha last year.

 

Forage rye for biodigesters in Fife, Angus and East Perthshire had all been harvested by mid-July, some ten days earlier than in 2017 with yields reported as generally above average.

In addition to the generally good yields of winter barley the sale of straw is a bonus.

 

A lot of it is selling for up to £100 per tonne baled and loaded in the field.

 

Mr Dawson said: “If as a rule of thumb we take the weight of straw at half the weight of the gain it is a useful boost."

 

Gavin Will, commercial director of Grainco Scotland said he was ‘encouraged’ by the yields and specific weights on winter barley.

 

He said: “If it is an indication of things to come later in the harvest it may not he too bad a harvest.”

 

“There has been no significant tonnage of oilseed rape harvested so far. It looks like we may see a considerable area of wheat cut before spring barley ad it may yet be a very hectic harvest period.”

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