A harvest in shorts and t-shirts rather than wellies and boilersuit!
After a difficult sowing season in autumn 2017 winter crops at harvest were a mixed bag. Some winter barley and wheat were satisfactory but others, including winter oats, suffered severely from being sown too late into very wet and cold seedbeds on heavier ground from which they never fully recovered. The extended cold weather of winter also never allowed spring cropping to fully establish itself before the hot weather arrived; the plants were not developed fully enough to take advantage of the heat.
Harvest, however, was a different story. Relatively dry & mild and all finished up by early September. The hot weather brought all crops on much quicker than usual resulting in record early harvests across the country. Prices for all cereals rose significantly in the lead up to harvest which will help to reduce the loss on income suffered from poor yields.
On a positive note next year’s crops have been established in ideal conditions with sufficient rain to create perfect soil moisture levels resulting in rapid seed germination and growth. This early establishment will hopefully go a long way to producing much improved yields next harvest.
Bedding and feed for livestock was already in very short supply and poor crop yields has done nothing to elevate the issue. However, the good weather has allowed all harvestable crops to be baled and preserved for the winter months in good quality if not quantity.
Elsewhere on the farm, the cattle are enjoying their last days on the pasture before winter housing, chickens are laying well and the highland cows are preparing their winter coats. We had one highland heifer calf born to Hettie this summer and were expecting another from Heather, but second calf arrived. Unfortunately, as is the way of farming, time maybe up for Heather or Vallance the bull.