I am sure every farmer in Scotland is as frustrated with the weather as we are right now, it has been a very start stop harvest so far. 
Despite this, we are seeing yields of around 2.5 tonnes per acre in spring barley with approximately half the acreage still to cut. 
Quality has also been high with all of the barley going to malting, hopefully the continued poor weather will not have too detrimental an affect on ongoing quality.
My parents had a successful trip to the Lairg sheep sales where they secured 256 North Country Cheviot ewe lambs. 
This addition to our own 160 NCC home-bred ewe lambs will allow us a great pick of the gimmers next year, with the majority being kept for breeding and the others being sold. 
We are hoping to put around 300 of our ewes and gimmers to the tup this year. As well as the NCC flock, we have a small number of Border Leicester ewes. 
We attended the sales at Kelso this month and bought some Border Leicester tups to bring new blood lines into the flock. We intend to synchronise the flock this year and will see how this turns out in due course.
Thanks to the weather, our main issue this month has been trying to get the straw baled and tubelined in order to maintain bedding and feed quality. 
Tubelining bales is a great alternative when you lack shed space, so every bale we produce and buy-in is lined. 
We purchased a ‘mature’ Grays tubeliner a few years back and set about upgrading it with a power pack and remote control operation. This has been a great time-saver, with only a loader and one man now needed.
Efficiencies even as small as these have enabled us to reduce our labour requirement for the business. 
All of the winter barley straw has been baled, tubelined and treated with ammonia. In a year, we will use around 2500 treated bales for feeding our cows and calves. 
Fortunately, we have straw available locally from our neighbours and secured 200 acres of wheat straw and 150 acres of barley straw, bought on a per acre, or ‘straw for muck’ basis. 
This, in addition to what is home produced, meets our bedding and feed demands over the winter months.
Our feed ration involves barley treated with Maxammon that we bruise in batches and add to a 20% protein blend, which the calves have already been started on this month. 
We choose to treat the barley in 30-tonne batches as we need it in order to retain freshness. Whilst treating, we add 300 litres of water to every 10-tonne batch as we find this generates a better reaction with the treatment. 
The water also softens the barley so that when it is bruised, it is rolled rather than smashed giving a preferable structure that allows the calves to process it easier and with less problems. 
We aim to have the calves on to a 17.5% protein diet before they are weaned. Creep feeders are now out in the field, with the calves also starting to feed on the treated straw – they are looking well on it.
We applied our last dressing of fertiliser in mid-August to support later grass growth. We find fertilising little and often encourages a constant growth as larger applications of fertiliser can lead to large bursts of growth which can often be wasted by trampling. 
Our cows start consuming treated straw from August when the grass quality and volume begins to drop off, while at the same time the calves requirements grow. 
Since moving to a treated straw ration and ensuring the calves are fully on to their winter diet before weaning, the cows come-in in far better condition and the stress is dramatically reduced in the lead up to housing and on the calves at weaning.
Ever looking at options to improve our methods, we are currently exploring ways of monitoring the individual feed conversion efficiency of our herd and have started investigating weighing systems. 
The data that these types of systems can produce will allow us the opportunity to realise the individual growth development of each animal and identify poor performers within the herd that can then be replaced. 
In researching and investing in this kind of new technology, we believe it will support our aims for the future of the business in creating a progressive and efficient system.
And as it continues to rain, my thoughts for a speedy end to the harvest this year begin to fade away!