THE RECENT wet weather forced some of Scotland’s farmers to leave their crops abandoned in the field, with many facing up to heavy winter crop losses.

To make matters worse, it looks like farmland will continue to remain un-touched, in some areas, as farmers are now experiencing breakdowns with their tractors with many pointing the blame at ‘dodgy diesel’.

The SF spoke to farmers and contractors this week who reported that their diesel filters were being blocked by ‘gloop’ within hours of use and having to be replaced. Suspicions have been raised at the inclusion rate of fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) in red diesel, which many believe has been increased without any forewarning.

Due to its hygroscopic nature, it is believed to be absorbing more moisture and when the cold weather arrived has frozen and formed lumps of fat, blocking the diesel filters.

NFU Scotland has been speaking with members across the country, asking for feedback and samples of their fuel, which are now being investigated. As The SF went to press on Wednesday, NFUS officials were locked in a meeting with Grangemouth refinery business, Petroineos, to hear an update on the situation.

Farmers have been advised to buy in additives for now, to mix in with their fuel and where possible, to clean out their storage tanks and add the fuel back in with the additive. The frustration for so many is that if the biodiesel element of the fuel is discovered to have been increased around a year ago – which is suspected – then businesses have received no prior warning in which they could have made preparations.

The industry is fed-up and looking for answers, which fuel suppliers aren’t able to provide. Individuals want to know whether they will be receiving compensation for the hundreds or in some cases thousands of pounds being forked out to pay for breakdown costs, diesel filter replacements and additives.

With winter around the corner and more cold temperatures expected, it doesn’t do that farmers don’t have kit to work with.

Despite the usual buzz and excitement which filled the ringside of a jam-packed AgriScot at Ingliston, fuel worries were never far from the minds of event-goers, but the quality of entries once more spoke volumes to the resilience of the sector and shed a positive light on what has been a difficult few months.