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Scottish cereal growers break 20-year yield record

Farmers in some areas of Scotland remain unable to lift crops due to weather problems


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Scottish cereal producers recorded 20-year high cereal yields but some remain unable to lift crops
Scottish cereal producers recorded 20-year high cereal yields but some remain unable to lift crops

Scottish cereal growers have recorded their highest yield in 20 years during this year’s harvest.

 

Producers are thought to have produced 3.3 million tonnes of cereals this year, according to estimates published today.

 

But the announcement from the Scottish Government came with a warning from NFU Scotland many growers outside the country’s main arable areas are still suffering from the effects of poor weather with some yet unable to lift crops.

 

NFU Scotland’s combinable crops policy manager Peter Loggie said: “Results from our own survey indicated that, for many in the main growing areas of Scotland, yields for the 2015 harvest were well above average.

 

"However, away from our main arable areas, those growing crops in the west, Caithness, Sutherland, Orkney and Shetland will have seen yields hammered by a cold and wet summer and there are parts of Scotland where harvest has still to be completed due to the late season."

 

The Scottish Government said it was aware of the issues in areas including Shetland and was working with NFUS and others in the industry to monitor the problem.

 

NFUS added a bigger issue for many Scottish cereal growers will be price. Wheat and barley prices have halved from the highs of £225/tonne two years ago and many growers from across the UK have suffered from depressed prices for much of the past year.

 

"Grain prices remain badly depressed due to expectations of a big supply of wheat on world markets. World prices have the biggest influence on home market prices so for those who managed to achieve these high yields, they will simply help offset the low price, Mr Loggie said.

 

Wheat, winter barley, oats and oilseed rape tonnages were all aided by good sowing conditions last autumn. Experts said the increase in oats partly reflected growers’ requirements to comply with new CAP rules which require some growers to plant more than two different crops.

 

Scotland’s rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead welcomed the yield figures.

 

He said: “Today’s harvest estimates are also the first to be published since the EU’s new greening rules came into effect in January.

 

"They show farmers have adapted well to the new greening requirements, although it is likely Europe’s three crop rule has resulted in a slight decrease in spring barley production."


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