Union’s annual harvest survey goes live

As Scotland’s harvest stutters forward, NFU Scotland’s annual harvest survey has been launched.
The broken weather has seen harvest stopping and starting.

Heavy rain, wind and damp conditions in some parts have been slowing up both progress with harvest 2020 and preparations for planting crops for harvesting in 2021. In contrast, in other areas of the country, harvest is progressing well.

Harvest survey

Once harvest is over, NFU Scotland is urging growers to complete its annual harvest survey.

The figures provided are analysed by NFU Scotland and estimated average yields for different regions in Scotland are shared with Scottish and UK Governments to provide the most accurate harvest forecasts.

NFU Scotland’s Combinable Crops Committee chairman Willie Thomson, who farms in East Lothian, said: “Harvest 2020 has been a frustrating one. There are some areas of the country in top gear, while others are struggling to get out of first gear.

“While we haven’t properly got going in East Lothian yet, reports from around the country on the harvest seem to be very much like the weather, very variable!

Some growers are very happy with what they have cut, while others growing next door haven’t made their yield or quality projections.

“A settled spell of weather is needed very soon. Not only do we need to clear this year’s harvest, but we need 2021 harvest sowings to start as well.

“One bright spot is that early indications about spring malting barley quality are very good. Given how important this crop is to Scotland, as the mainstay of our whisky industry, this will be a big relief to many. The last thing we need is 2020 giving us a kick in the shins over malting barley.

“Looking ahead, accurate forecasts on size of the 2020 harvest in Scotland and the rest of the UK are invaluable. I urge all Scottish growers, once harvest is completed, to find time to complete the Union’s annual harvest survey.”

Changes for 2020

NFUS policy manager Peter Loggie explained that this year, those running the survey would prefer farmers to take part online.

“The yield estimates generated by our annual survey have, over many years, helped to improve the accuracy of government forecasts of production,” he said.

“Having accurate figures on the tonnages of cereals and oilseeds grown each year ensures that all parts of the grain trade, including growers, have valuable marketing information about the volume of crop available.

For NFU Scotland to generate accurate figures, we need as many survey returns as possible. Those willing to help can download a copy of the survey form from the NFUS website.

“This year, with respect to the Covid pandemic, we would prefer forms downloaded to be emailed back rather than being posted. All details are on the form along with instructions on how to complete and return it. The deadline for responses this year is September 21.”