We have had a fantastic spell of weather up on the Black Isle over the past few weeks which has been great for getting dry weather dependant jobs done.

Clipping the ewes and getting our silage mown, baled and wrapped was all a much less laborious experience with a sunny, settled forecast. We’ve had a few showers over the past few days which will have helped the arable crops which are dry with only 9mm of rain in June – quite mad when compared to the 119mm we had in May!

Spring barley crops have all had their T2 spray in good conditions though they look very variable. Areas that have any sort of compaction, such as gateways and roller tracks, don’t look good, but well drained fields after break crops actually look OK. Hopefully plenty of sunshine over the next few weeks will lead to high bushels weights and crops will get yield from there in areas where they have dropped tillers.

Spring oat crops drilled into poorer, wetter fields that were ploughed up from grass don’t look good, but who knew it was going to be the coldest, wettest spring for 50 odd years when we decided to sow this crop.

Wheat crops are fortunately looking really good now and it does just show how much more of a robust crop wheat is when compared to spring barley which has such a low tolerance to wet or cold weather.

Seed winter wheat crops, all of which are of the Skyscraper variety, have been rogued and are to be inspected this week, so I'll now start rogueing spring barley seed crops ahead of inspections later in the month.

After that it won’t be long till we start thinking about spraying off oilseed rape and getting plans in place for drilling winter crops again – the never-ending cycle of farming!

We finished lifting the 2020 carrot crop for Huntapac on June 21 – 11 weeks after starting. Typically our harvesting period is around five to six weeks but we lifted a larger area, with less loads per day so it was more staggered this year.

In our own field we have cultivated the straw in after lifting the carrots and drilled 12 acres of the field with a mix of fodder rape, stubble neeps and kale, split into different areas of three different mixes. The warm weather has helped germination and it is through the ground, so it will be interesting to see if it comes to anything. If it does it will be used to fatten lambs on throughout the autumn/winter.

Usually we always drill OSR after carrots, followed by winter wheat, but the field is one which has never had OSR in before, so we don’t want to pollute it with volunteer OSR which would make growing feed brassicas difficult in future.

We bought some sheep handling equipment through the SACG Scheme which we received a fortnight ago and our new racegrip for our Rappa Yard is a fantastic piece of kit making dosing, dagging and vaccinating so much easier and less sore on your back – no more wrestling with awkward lambs.

Dad has also just celebrated his 60th birthday on July 3, and it was lovely to have some close friends and family over for a barbecue in the garden, including a delicious square bale shaped birthday cake made by our lambing assistant Jessie – a woman of many talents!