“As long as there is water in the burn, we’re okay”

At the Fife Show in 2017, Ian, a local farmer, talks of the impact on his farm of having no rain over recent months and how he has to rely on the local burn.

Lindsey McEwen: You were just saying about the current dry condition and the fact that you’ve had to irrigate and you were irrigating things you hadn’t irrigated before.

Ian Crombie: Yes, well it has been an extraordinary dry spell, as we all know, and all the crops went in, in good conditions, in March, April, May but then no rain at all so, very unusually, we’ve had to irrigate spring barley, spring oats, even winter wheat, which is unheard of. And it certainly helped but we wouldn’t do it by choice ’cause it’s a costly exercise. We have a source of water which is adjacent to our farm. We’ve got a big reservoir which we fill up in the winter. We use it in the summertime. It goes down and we’re then connected to a burn, actually, which comes in when the water level gets to a certain point.

Lindsey McEwen: So do you take water out of the river then or yes?

Ian Crombie: Yes, we take it. It’s a burn. And then once the level comes above that, it stops so, then, goes down the burn again. So it’s only when it gets quite low that the water comes in. And, as long as there’s water in the burn, we’re ok.

Lindsey McEwen: Is the burn low, just now?

Ian Crombie: No, it’s not, actually. Surprisingly. It must have a big catchment area but it’s still been a pretty steady flow of water.

Speaker A: Can I ask what kind of irrigation technique you use? Is it drip feed?

Ian Crombie: No. This is basically it’s a gun system which, I think, from our point of view, is the only sensible thing because we move them around a lot, all over the farm. 1300 acres and it’s quite an operation to move them. So you can pull it with a tractor, set it up, pull it out, set it off and away it goes.

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