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Poor cereal harvest confirmed in Scotland

Staff Writer |
Scotland’s 2016 cereal harvest is estimated to have fallen 11 percent on 2015.

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Scottish farms produced 2.8 million tonnes of cereals this year, including 1.6 million tonnes of barley and 900,000 tonnes of wheat. The total is five percent lower than the ten-year average.

The Scottish Government’s Chief Statistician today released the final estimates of the 2016 Scottish cereal and oilseed rape harvest. The figures confirm the general messages seen in the provisional results published in August.

The figures show that this year’s fall in production is due to an eight percent fall in overall cereal yields.

The total area of land sown has also decreased by three percent, with 428,000 hectares of cereal grown in 2016. Overall yields averaged around 6.4 tonnes per hectare; ranging from 5.4 tonnes per hectare for spring barley to 8.4 for wheat.

Spring barley, Scotland’s most important cereal crop, is expected to fall 15 percent to 1.30 million tonnes, the lowest since 1997.

Winter barley likewise saw a 19 percent fall to 329,000 tonnes, with wheat holding up slightly better, with a nine percent drop to 926,000 tonnes. Only oats saw positive results, with the crop topping 200,000 tonnes for the first time since the 1970s.

Oilseed rape had a particularly poor year, with yields averaging around 3.3 tonnes per hectare, resulting in the lowest production since records began in 1992, at 102,000 tonnes.

The results come from a survey of over 600 cereal farms across Scotland.

There had been no catastrophic weather condition responsible for this, just a series of less than ideal factors affecting the seed bed, growing conditions and the final harvest.

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