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Robbie Newlands: Hopefully harvest will be underway, despite a summer of rain

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Our spring barley is slowly moving from green to yellow, so it is going to be a much later harvest this year.

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Our spring barley is slowly moving from green to yellow, so it is going to be a much later harvest this year. We started spraying on August 28 on crops which were furthest on and the remainder will need another week, making us a good week behind last year.

 

With the last of the bulls away, we are now washing down sheds in preparation for harvest. Bulls have averaged 393kg deadweight and £1,426.

 

Second cut silage, of which there were only a couple of fields, was halfway through being baled when we got four days of rain. It will be interesting to see what the difference is when we analyse silage baled before and after rain. It has been a poor summer, but as they say ‘you can tell it is summer in Scotland because the rain is warmer’.

 

Calves are starting to find creep feeders now (maybe it is for shelter from the rain) and consumption is increasing. We have always used straight, bruised barley in feeders and were encouraged to use a higher protein mixture during our time as a monitor farm. We did and found straight barley was as good in our situation, so have gone back to straight barley. It is certainly less hassle, with no mixing.

Speaking of hassle, we took the bulls away from the cows a couple of weeks ago. It all went fairly well until we put three bulls together, two of which wanted to be top dog.

 

One 4.5-metre (15ft) gate like a banana, a broken strainer which the gate was hung on, and a bird’s nest of hi-tensile wire later and order resumed, they are best of pals now. Thankfully, there was no damage to the bulls themselves.

On August 18, we were hosts for a group of four International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE) delegates, the European IFYE conference being hosted by Scotland this year.

 

The delegates, of which there were about 190 in total, were allocated a local family to pick them up, take them for a look around the area and organise lunch, then join them in the evening for food and a ceilidh. It was a very interesting and enjoyable day, despite the rain.

 

I have noticed a high pressure over the Atlantic heading our way, harvest in mid-September is going to be a doddle. I am still to decide if this is a case of the ‘glass half full’ or desperation.

 

ROBBIE NEWLANDS, MORAYSHIRE

Robbie Newlands and his wife Kirsty farm 435 hectares (1,074 acres) of Less Favoured Area land near Forres, Morayshire. They run 150 mostly Simmental and Blue cross cows, with 30 Simmental cross heifers put to a Simmental bull. All progeny is sold fat off a barley beef-type system. The ewe flock of 650 North of England type Mules is put to Texel tups, with most lambs sold fat. Crops include 69ha (170 acres) of barley for feed and 10ha (26 acres) of swedes. The business employs one full-time person, Lesley Grant.

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