• IT'S BEEN a struggle for many because of the weather, but potato lifting is now complete in most areas – 97% has now lifted in the UK, compared to 90% at this time last year.

  • AS OCTOBER heads to a close, the general position is that potato lifting and winter wheat sowing are also getting closer to being completed – but that said, there are still a few worrying pockets of the harvest to mop up, most notably in some parts of Lanarkshire.

  • CROPS STILL left to harvest are beginning to experience serious quality issues because of continuing wet weather.

  • AFTER NINE dry days at the end of September in the Borders, 16mm or ¾ of an inch of rain fell last weekend in the first two days of October to undo the good that had been done by the dry spell last week.

  • IT HAS again been a week of dodging showers and a continuation of August's rainfall figures, explaining why in the Borders we had 152mm, or 6 inches, to give a total so far of 525mm or 21 inches, against last year's comparative figures of 27mm or 1 inch for the month, and 491mm, or 20 inches for the year.

  • THE WET weather since the beginning of the month has caused some crops to go flat in some areas of Scotland and that is a rare sight in recent years.

  • WORLD MARKETS were thrown into turmoil last week following the US' Department of Agriculture reporting that its maize area was 1.5m acres higher than previous estimates and that stocks are 10m tonnes above previous forecasts.

  • BACK FROM the Royal Highland to the 'day job' has meant that for many areas of the east, the potato irrigators were turned back on – although some areas have had more rain than others, as those in the west might appreciate!

  • AS IF prompted – following a recent announcement of an official drought in East Anglia – it and other 'dry' areas of the UK had some welcome rainfall last weekend.

  • THERE IS one positive to come out of the global downturn in business – shipping rates are now at a two-year low, which helps exports of bulk raw materials, such as wheat.