Last week we ploughed 2 fields, one will be sown with “bere” (Shetland 6 rowed barley) and the other with Swedish barley developed for Iceland. Unfortunately it has rained ever since preventing us from sowing the seed. Soil temperature needs to be above 6 degrees to encourage growth but we have only seen air temperatures rise perhaps to 8 degrees.
Cereal crops are very uncommon now in Shetland partly due to harvesting at the back end being difficult and partly due to discouragement by the Scottish Government. However, we see maintaining some cereal and straw production as essential for the health of the cattle in winter time. Today we noticed the first stanechakker (wheatear). These spend the winter south of the Sahara apparently and return around the 3rd week of April every year to their northern nesting sites. They are always a happy and lively bird that nest around the fringes of the in-bye land.
The ploughed fields attracted an unusual visitor.