Richard Byass, Field Operations Manager
The recent favourable weather has allowed us to make a relatively early start to the 2021 season.
Drilling commenced on the 5th March in the East Lothians with good seedbeds and soil temperatures above the minimum requirement for Accumulated Heat Units (AHU). This has enabled us to build momentum early in the drilling program.
By 19th March, we had completed all the ‘early’ Lothian drillings and worked down the coast to Cockburnspath and finished the drilling schedule around Berwick. This amounts to approximately 280 ha (10% of the growing area).
A relatively early start is a significant advantage to SBP Growers and Eyemouth Freezers. We now have a predicted start to harvest before the end of June by which time all the 2020 crop will have just been packed and distributed to the supermarkets.
Attention to detail:
Operationally, I am very pleased with how things are going this season with a noticeable improvement on 2020 so we have a better and earlier start compared to last year.
2020 raised concerns yet again over extreme weather events. We experienced a prolonged period dry weather across the entire growing area. Lessons have been learnt from this and we are mindful of the possibility of a similar occurrence again this season.
With this in mind it would be advisable to press ploughed land soon to avoid losing too much moisture whilst not being detrimental if we do actually receive measurable amounts of rainfall over the next few weeks.
Cover crops are also becoming more and more popular, however, these do need to be removed/sprayed-off before they pull too much moisture out of the ground, several weeks in advance of drilling.
I will send out more updates as we progress through the season.