Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Flooding leads to harvest fears on Carse of Gowrie

Flooding in the fields in the Carse of Gowrie, near Kinnaird,
Flooding in the fields in the Carse of Gowrie, near Kinnaird,

Weeks of relentless rain have taken a toll on low-lying arable farmland across Perthshire and parts of Fife, and arable growers are becoming increasingly concerned about the implications for the 2020 harvest.

Some fields which were sown in winter cereals last autumn have been under water for weeks, and farmers say hundreds of acres earmarked for spring barley crops will take a lot of drying out before the land is able to carry a plough or sowing machinery.

The scene across the Carse of Gowrie is grim after 105mm of rain fell in the last seven days at a time when the ground was already waterlogged.

Some growers say it’s the worst damage they’ve seen in the area in decades.

NFU Scotland’s (NFUS) cereals committee chairman, Willie Thomson, who grows 420 acres of spring and winter crops, voiced the frustration of fellow members whose land is out of bounds for the foreseeable future.

“In our area of East Lothian we only got 70-80% of our planned acreage in the ground in the autumn, so not only will we have a horrendous amount of work to cope with this spring, we’re looking at the possibility of a serious glut of spring barley because that will be the only option left for many farmers, and the crops that are already in the ground are looking sorry for themselves,” he said.

“For people in Nitrate-Vulnerable Zones, the close period ended on February 15 and we were looking forward to the chance to get on the land because crops are needing fertiliser.

“No one is feeling optimistic at the moment but it’s just February, so there’s still time.”

North of the Tay, the situation looks less bleak because better sowing conditions last autumn meant the bulk of winter crops are in the ground.

Laurencekirk farmer Andrew Moir said while everything locally was “wet and a mess”, the situation wasn’t as bad as in Perthshire and Fife.

Meanwhile, writing on his NFUS blog, Aberfeldy farmer and union vice-president Martin Kennedy said farmers and crofters could offer practical and cost-effective solutions to the problems created by climate change.

“Gravel and silt removal is not necessarily the answer to preventing all floods, but having seen close up how rivers like the Tay work in high water, and looking at thousands of tons of deposits now sitting higher than was ever allowed in the past by those who managed our watercourses, I’m sure those who manage the land can help the situation,” he said.

Farmers who are concerned that they will not be able to comply with greening regulations because of flooding impacts are advised to contact their local Rural Payments & Inspections Directorate office within 15 days of the flooding.

For advice on how to spread slurry safely, growers are encouraged to call Sepa on 03000 996699.

Already a subscriber? Sign in