It’s not very often that us Scots get to brag about our weather conditions, so bear with us while we take our opportunity to gloat!
Our patch in Aberdeenshire was blessed with some of the best conditions in the UK this summer. August wasn’t particularly great but September was fantastic so we were able to get everything harvested in good time. We finished on 15th September, which is a great result for our part of the world.
Our oilseed rape produced 4.92t/ha with 47% oils, which we were really pleased with considering the wet winter we had.
We are still selling our wheat and spring barley but the prices are looking great so far. At the moment our wheat is coming in at 11t/ha sold weight.
Thanks to Mother Nature treating us to ideal sowing conditions in September pretty much everything is back in the ground, with just the wheat to finish.
As well as keeping busy on our farm, we also took on some contracting work to justify the purchase of a new combine. We completed just under 245 ha for a neighbouring farmer. As new entrants and tenant farmers, we’re keen to provide a high-quality service and hopefully continue working closely with the farmer in the future.
The new combine wasn’t our only purchase this summer - we also jumped on the Facebook Marketplace bandwagon and purchased a grain dryer.
This was a steep learning curve because we hadn’t dried grain before, but after putting all our wheat and oats through it we’re masters!
Looking ahead, we are raising the pH of our fields, using soil samples taken last year. We will invest further into GPS soil sampling when we have more of an idea of what the future holds. We took over Newseat of Dumbreck Farm on a three-year SLDT from the Aberdeen Endowment Trust in July 2019 and we’re currently waiting to find out what our long-term future will look like. We hope to have more of an idea before Christmas which will give us plenty of time to plan, no matter what the outcome.
However we’re hopeful that come next year we will be able to begin sampling a quarter of the land every year in order to gain a better understanding of the soil’s nutrient content and put in place an appropriate soil management plan.
As tenants we know that we may not live on the farm indefinitely, but we’re passionate about safeguarding the future for those who will - its wildlife.
A recent survey found water voles on the land and we’ve taken a delivery of bird and owl boxes to put in our sheds. We’re also planning to extend an existing buffer strip and plant wild flower mixes, as we’ve found these attract a lot of insects and bees.
· Farming in Aberdeenshire
· 153ha at Newseat of Dumbreck Farm on a three-year short duration limited tenancy from the Aberdeen Endowment Trust
· Nursery pigs and cattle on a bed and breakfast basis
· 215ha of arable land farmed in tandem with Harriet’s father’s