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Combines at the ready in hint of an early harvest

Harvesting of winter barley is expected to begin in earnest next week
Harvesting of winter barley is expected to begin in earnest next week

Combines have been dusted down in preparation for what looks like being  an early harvest in Scotland.

A handful of farmers have started combining already, around Perth and near Inverbervie, where William Faith, of Peattie Farm  cut a field of Glacier winter barley this week.

Mr Faith said he had never cut barley in July before and it was the earliest harvest he had ever witnessed on the farm. The grain, which will be crimped for feeding to the farm’s 170 suckler cows, was yielding between 3.75 and 4 tonnes per acre with a moisture content of between 25% and 30%.

Scottish Agronomy chief executive, Andrew Gilchrist said some early-sown crops on light land were ripe and being harvested around Perth and North Berwick, but it was still just a handful of fields.

“The majority will start to get under way next week – a good week earlier than average,” he said.

”They’ll mostly be the six row varieties, such as Bazooka, Meridian and Sunningdale.”

Colin Dargie of East of Scotland Farmers said he expected the harvest to be in full swing by July 24th , but there were still some crops that were days away from pre-harvest glyphosate.

He added: “The first oilseed rape crops are being desiccated now, so around  three weeks to harvest.”

AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds knowledge exchange manager, Gavin Dick predicted a sharp start to harvest but said it wouldn’t be dramatically early.

He added:  “Many growers are still spraying off and that means they can’t combine for another two weeks so I don’t think we’ll see any significant bulk of crop cut until the end of July.”

NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said straw bales were appearing in parts of  Dumfries and Galloway and reports from south Ayrshire indicate that combines are rolling near Girvan and Turnberry.

nnicolson@thecourier.co.uk

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