Most have finished their winter barley, while 85% of the oilseed rape has also been completed, although there have been widespread reports of it sprouting in the pod lately.
Problems of getting the crop dry enough have been compounded by combines getting bogged down on wet land and Forth and Clyde in particular seems to be struggling with the wet weather. Unusually, there were localised hail showers in Aberdeenshire in August that stripped rape crops.
The mixed weather experienced throughout the growing season means that most people are still a good week away from starting the spring barley, while wheat is 10 days to a fortnight away in the earlier areas.
According to NFU Scotland’s Combinable Crops Committee chairman, Andrew Moir: “Reports on winter barley are that tonnages are average to good, and good to very good for oilseed rape. Big variations are being found, not only from farm to farm, but in field to field for no apparent reason. The good news is that early indications on the spring barley are for very good yields and quality.
“A dry spell is vital to help combat the rising costs of harvest. The fuel I bought in August had risen by 23.5% compared to the same time last year. Gas has also increased by 18.2% in the same period, so drying must be avoided if at all possible.”
Mr Moir puts his drying costs on a typical barley/wheat crop with 19% moisture content at £13/tonne and rape with similar moisture in excess of £20/tonne.
“Obviously higher prices for grains and oilseed will help, but wheat prices are now £40/tonne lower than the peak prices. At the same time, fuel and gas prices are relentlessly heading upwards, fertiliser has taken a £100/t hike and urea has risen £85/t since May, so we are actually having to run faster to stand still”, he added.
With August nearly over, the pressure is now on to get next year’s oilseed rape sown as soon as possible.
United Auctions sold 6507 prime lambs at Stirling on Thursday to a top of £93 per head and 208p per kg to average 167.1p (-7p on the week).
There were also 1628 cast sheep forward with ewes selling to £105.50 for Texels and £69.50 for Blackfaces.
The Cumberland and Dumfriesshire Farmers Mart had a colossal show of 7267 prime lambs in Longtown on Thursday that, despite the volume, averaged a respectable 176.1p per kg. Top prices on the day were £89.50 per head and 207p per kg.
A phenomenal show of 7849 cast sheep were £3 up on the week as Ramadan comes to an end. Heavy ewes sold to £134.50 for Texels and averaged £84.53, while light ewes peaked at £90.50 for Cheviots and levelled at £58.59. Cast rams sold to £160.50 for Charollais and averaged £98.85.