NFU Scotland’s Highland regional chairman, Cameron MacIver,
writes about harvest and record-breaking sheep
Harvest is progressing well in the Highland area although it has been a bit stop-start.
Upwards of 70% of cut yields have been extremely good from what looked to be an average crop, with three tonnes an acre for spring barley not uncommon and even four in some cases, if believable – although one well respected young man did achieve 4.2 tonnes per acre at 16% moisture.
The downside is skinning has been a big problem in some areas and some varieties.
This has been very frustrating and disappointing for those concerned, but as I mentioned in last month’s column, going forward, if maltsters get their tonnage this year, I don’t think they will need so much next year.
They are businessmen like us – we would not buy 100 tonnes of fertiliser if we only needed 70. Supply and demand is key.
The late Dave Kelman once told me if you need 100 tonnes and can only get 99 then there is a shortage but if you can get 101 tonnes then there’s a surplus.
We all need to have a good think about what we are doing next year.
It’s all very easy sticking in malting barley and getting it carted away at harvest but if there’s a reduced market due to Covid-19 it might not be very clever.
I feel I must mention the passing of Jimmy Carr who for many years was with SAI and then Moray Barley.
Jimmy was a well kent, friendly face who lived locally to me and always passed with a toot and a wave. He was a true character of the area and my sympathies go to his family
Meanwhile, the sheep trade is on a high just now. I had a phone conversation with Kate Rowell from Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) in the spring when she said the trade for lamb was looking promising up to Christmas but after that who knows – and how right she was.
Gimmer and ewe lamb trade is phenomenal just now and it’s good to see confidence in this sector after such despondency.
Lastly, there has been a bit of adverse reaction to the 350,000gn Texel tup lamb from Sportsmans and comments that it’s a bad advert for farmers.
Well, I’m sorry but I disagree.
The Boden family has spent a lot of time and money to get to where they are now and are reaping the rewards for all their hard work and well done to them.
Success like that needs to be praised not criticised.
Congratulations to the consortium of buyers who bought Double Diamond – I wish you all the best.
To set a world record is no mean feat… I just wish I had sold him.