Richard Byass, Field Operations Manager
The drilling programme was completed as planned on the 18th June which gave us a 100 day spread from start to finish. This is a few days longer than previous seasons (to give us a better chance of capturing all the crop at harvest), but not too late to jeopardise the end of season crops.
Harvest started on Wednesday 24th June in the Lothians with some very modest yields. This was due to the combination of a relatively dry spring, and light (early) land. It was apparent that the yield potential would be low several weeks before we started harvest. Quality, however, was very good from these early crops.
We then progressed onto the Coldstream area where yields improved significantly whilst quality was also good but variable. We managed to keep the packing process going at Eyemouth Freezers with varying quality across the full grade profile (AA to D).
The Wark and Kelso area then followed on with a return to AA grade, albeit close to budget yields. This is perfectly acceptable at this stage of the season since yields typically start off below budget and then increase above budget (peak mid-season) and then fall again towards the end of the season.
The harvest team are working hard to keep the operation going efficiently whilst ensuring Eyemouth Freezers receive a constant supply of quality product.
The recent investment in auto-steer on the harvesters is making a measurable difference to operator fatigue, harvesting output and also quality of the crop – relatively low levels of Mud Under Skin (MUS).
To date we have over 2000 tonnes in the freezer and most of the crops ahead of us have the potential to produce good quality and yield.
No crops have been by-passed and we are about on budget with the situation improving all the time.
The next tranche will be around the Belford area which will be ready for harvesting next week, again these crops look good so we expect a satisfactory result from this area.
I will send out more updates as we progress through the season.