Farming Insights – August 2016

Since the last edition of Farming Insights, we have had one of the wettest summers in recent history along with Brexit, the Agricultural Show season and still more rain!

In previous years, silage work has started by the end of May in the North East of Scotland. Due to the weather this year, as in 2015, many farmers had to postpone their grass work till mid July. There was decent sun during May and June but not enough or for long enough to reap the benefits at that time.

In June, at the same time as the Royal Highland Show, we had the Referendum and the resultant Brexit decision. At the time of the vote, many farmers were still waiting for the last instalment of their 2015 Farm Subsidy Payment. By the 30th June, the majority of Scottish farmers had received the full balance and it is good to see that the Westminster Government have now provided confirmation that the Farming Support will continue until 2020. Another benefit of the vote to leave the EU albeit possibly unintended, is the change in the exchange rate has resulted in an increase in the commodity trading price for lamb. The debate by the EU on the banning of Glycosphate was also scheduled for the 23rd June.  However, due to more pressing matters on that day this was postponed for 18 months – giving a stay of execution for many land owners and farmers, as there is currently no alternative readily available to control invasive weeds.

The Farm & Estates team have been extremely busy attending local shows over the summer. We exhibited at the RNAS Countryside Live in May, New Deer and Border Union Shows in July and Turriff Show in August. These shows allow our staff to meet with existing and new customers and discuss a variety of insurance needs face to face. It is great to see a continued effort by both exhibitors and visitors supporting their local shows.

Despite intermittent heavy rain and thunderstorms during August, the temperature has at last, started to rise. There still hasn’t been enough sun in many areas to provide an increased yield in the winter crops but they are looking better than had been predicted earlier in the season. The spring crops are starting to bulk out but the start of harvest may be later than ideal in some regions.

The fodder crops are finally being cut and quality seems to vary from average to good. One of the main issues, besides the variable crop quality, is with the softness of the ground for access to the fields by machinery for crop treatments. For those with livestock grazing outside, the grass quality and the wet ground conditions have resulted in some stock already being brought indoors for the winter – some 2 months ahead of the norm.

These are just some examples of how resilient and flexible the farming community has to be. Pragmatism becomes second nature as whatever the weather or the economic climate produces, farmers need to adapt their plans to accommodate. After all if we want food security, we need farming!

For further information please contact our Farms and Estates Account Executive  

Jean Arnott-Glennie at [email protected]