After a good spell of weather here in the Borders, rain has arrived once again and it looked like it would continue all week at the time of writing.

While it slowed up the combines a bit, it will have done some good to newly-sown crops,. giving them a head-start for next year.

However, forecasters say Scotland is set for the hottest Indian summer for 11 years, with temperatures set to reach 26°C later this month.

In the week ending August 22, 68% of the GB crop had been harvested against the five-year average of 59% by this point in August.

A good early start was made to this year’s harvest but farmers are now having to deal with ripe crops waiting to be cut, but delayed by the poor weather.

John Aitchison, whose family farm at Lochton, near Coldstream, with rainfall records going back to 1903, has had 227.7mm of rain in June, July and August and this compared to 509mm in the West of Scotland. In August alone, the North of Scotland had 155.5mm, which is nearly 30% more than normal for August month.

The Met office data showed that 416mm, or 16.3 inches, fell on average across Scotland between June 1 and August 30 – or the fifth highest since records began in 1910 and more than a third higher than usual.

This figure does not include, as yet, the downpours that fell on the last day in August across much of the country and the 2017 figure is likely to beat the 427.8mm recorded in 2009. This would make it the third wettest summer ever recorded.

Scotland had 387 hours of sunshine in June, July and August, which is 91% of what the country would normally expect.

Add up all these factors and you can see why livestock has had to go inside in the West and meant that a lot more fodder and straw costs are being incurred. And, it's another reason for the increase in demand for straw going from east to west.

Defra has reported a 48% fall in wheat stocks as at June 30 in England and Wales year-on-year and this reflects a tighter supply and demand situation throughout 2016-2017 following a smaller harvested crop last year. Stocks look unlikely to increase during the current marketing season due to a 3% reduction in the UK wheat area and average yields.

EU exports are currently 55% behind last year, when 5m tonnes had been moved compared to 2.4m tonnes this year so far.

France has currency issues which inflated French wheat prices against other cheaper suppliers. Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt bought a combined 1m tonnes of wheat from Black Sea suppliers and because of the strength of the euro, this tonnage was bought at $10 less than the French could quote.

Sterling set a new eight-year low against the euro last week as Brexit negotiations failed to make progress, but recovered slightly since.

The Russian wheat crop for 2017 is now estimated at 81-85m tonnes compared to 73.3m tonnes in 2016 and Russia could export 32m tonnes of cheap wheat which will be a price difficult to compete with by other exporters.

November, 2017, Liffe feed wheat futures were up 40p to £140 and for November 2018 were up 75p to £146.75.

UK ex-farm bread milling wheat was up £2.60 to £146 and feed wheat was up 70p to £132.30. Feed barley was down 30p to £116.30.

The Scottish malting barley harvest is around 50% complete and nitrogen levels continue to be low and malting quality remains good.

The Scottish distilling supply and demand looks balanced, with only 240,000 ha planted and means that there will be little movement of barley to England.

Oilseed rape delivered Erith was up £1.50 this past week to £337 and the increase is due in part to rapeseed prices finding support because of tightening supplies. Another factor has been the continued weakness in sterling.

The 2017 EU oilseed rape production has been reduced to 21.65m tonnes due to continuing poor weather and summer rains in Germany and who are the EU’s second largest producer of oilseed rape but this total will still be up 7% on the 2016 crop output.

Canada’s original production estimate of canola at 20.5m tonnes has now been cut to 18.2m tonnes due to poor weather and below average yields.

This poor weather has seen Canada’s wheat production forecasts also cut by 20% from last year, making it the smallest wheat crop for six years. Barley production is forecast down 18% from 2016.

Recently, Defra provisionally estimated the English oat area at 120,000 ha which would be up 17% from 2016.

The Scottish area for the crop was estimated up 12% from last year and, coupled with the Welsh and N Ireland oat area, this would give a total UK oat area of 162,000ha for 2017, or the largest UK oat area since 2013.

The average UK yield so far – which is mainly from England – is around 6-6.2 t/ha and if this yield is correct then the 2017 oat crop production could be higher than the 2013 high production level.