The last time we spoke to Kevin, he was waiting on dry weather to finish planting potatoes. Conditions have reversed completely, and he is now looking for rain for these crops.

The O’Gormans started planting potatoes again on 16 May, and by 24 May it was all finished in ideal ground conditions. The potatoes are emerging very quickly with the high temperatures. Chitted potatoes are emerging after 14 days, which is well ahead of April planted crops, which normally take four to five weeks to emerge.

The O’Gormans are applying a herbicide before emergence, with a mixture of Sencorex Flow, Emerger and Defy being used. They are hoping that the residuals will work despite the very dry ground conditions and lack of rain since planting.

The O'Gormans preparing to plant potatoes.

All cereal crops are looking very good, soaking up the sunshine and are growing quite quickly. Disease levels are remaining low with the dry conditions, with no diseases in any winter or spring crops to be concerned about at present.

The winter wheat received its T2 fungicide at GS39 in the middle of May. Questar (1.5l/ha), Pontoon (0.75l/ha) and Freedom (1.4l/ha) were applied. The T3 flowering spray was due to be applied in the past couple of days, with Firefly being the product of choice for the O’Gormans.

The winter oats received its final spray of Elatus Era (0.9l/ha) and magnesium in the middle of May.

The spring barley is powering through the growth stages, and will receive its final spray in the coming days. Amistar (0.6l/ha), Siltra (0.6l/ha), and magnesium are to be included in the mix. Axial Pro also needed to be included late in the season as wild oats had not been controlled.

The spring barley received its first spray on 15 May, consisting of Cameo Max SX (35g/ha), Hurler (0.75l/ha), Karis 10 CS, manganese, and Proline (0.5l/ha).

With yield potential looking good across the board, Kevin says that all they can do now is wait and see if rain arrives soon before the crops become too stressed.

Sunshine and warm weather have been great for Alex’s winter crops in Westmeath.

He remarks that the year is similar to 2018, as winter crops looked quite average earlier in the spring but now look super.

The winter barley received its final spray of Innox Pro (0.4l/ha), Serpent (0.8l/ha), and trace elements in the middle of May. While there is some rhyncho on lower leaves, the crop is mostly clean. Alex says that the hybrid varieties are slightly cleaner than the conventional varieties.

The T2 spray was applied to the winter wheat last month. Revystar XL (1.25l/ha), Mirror (1.5l/ha) and trace elements were applied. Alex says that quite a bit of tipping and scorch was caused by this spray. KWS Dawsum is the best-looking variety at the moment, with a great colour.

Alex says his growth regulation programme has kept the winter oats quite short.

The gate is closed now, with a head spray of Velogy Era (0.8l/ha) and Final K (2.5l/ha) applied a couple of weeks ago. Alex has finally finished his spring planting. The spring oilseed rape has emerged well. He says that great care was taken at planting to ensure moisture was retained in the seedbed. Some 5mm of rain when the pre-emergence herbicide spray of Butisan S was applied should help this to work effectively.

The maize has also been drilled. Alex decided to use a urea-based fertiliser, and to incorporate all of this in the seedbed. It has emerged and looks well, but Alex will keep a close eye on the crop to ensure it does not become too stressed as it breaks through the plastic.

The condition of the spring barley varies, with the best crops coming on the wetter soils.

Some crops have received their T1 fungicide, with the remainder to be sprayed in the coming week. Coyote (0.6l/ha) is the main fungicide being used. All crops received an aphicide and manganese at GS14.

The recent dry weather has allowed Patrick to get up to date with spraying work, sheep shearing, and silage-making.

However, moisture will be soon needed in this part of the country on light, free-draining soils.

The spring beans were sprayed just before they began to flower on 17 May. Karate Zeon was applied for bean weevils, with Signum, Basfoliar K, a seaweed extract and a trace element mix also included.

The seaweed and trace elements were included to try to help the beans fight off any water-related stress that they may experience as the dry weather continues. Patrick is happy with the beans so far, and there is a lot of bee activity.

The gluten-free spring oats have been sprayed twice since last talking to Patrick.

On 18 May, Cameo Max SX, Galaxy, CeCeCe750, Talius, and Amazinc were applied. Patrick then came back at the end of May with CeCeCe 750, Moddus 250 EC, Boogie Xpro, and Talius. Patrick is happy with these oats so far.

While they are on light ground, they are not stressed so far, which Patrick puts down to applications of chicken litter over the past number of years and the fact that they are following a crop of beans.

Patrick Kehoe has been busy spraying over the past few weeks.
The spring barley is a bit behind in terms of growth stage to where it would usually be, but it looks pretty good and is holding its colour well.

However, Patrick says it would like some rain soon.

He has also been busy in the barley. Herbicides (Galaxy and Boudha), plant growth regulators (CeCeCe 750 and Moxa EC), a fungicide (Helix), manganese, and a seaweed extract have all been applied over the past month.

Patrick is also trialling Soil and Seed, a biostimulant which claims to improve the soil microbiome and provide nutrition to crops. We will check back with Patrick later in the year to see how it performs.