It’s often said that a late Easter means a late spring and it’s certainly true this year. Now, I know dairy cows have been out grazing in magical Dairyland since Christmas – that’s if they were ever in – and I’m tired reading about all the grass that’s being measured daily.
Frankly, I don’t see it. Yes, we have some grass but it’s very slow and the crops have stood practically still for the past fortnight or so. For a year that looked like being very early, it’s no longer true.
Some two-row winter barley looks pathetic and good wheat has tipped, with septoria taking advantage
Now it has to be said, this isn’t necessarily any harm and I’d even prefer slow crop growth to a wild flush but, nonetheless, crops have taken a hammering with the continually chilly temperatures.
Some two-row winter barley looks pathetic and good wheat has tipped, with septoria taking advantage. Our hybrid barley has weathered well but, in truth, I never believed that winter barley was suited to the dauby early spring Meath soils. Wheat yes, all the time, but barley? No. It’s a light land crop, for the kiddies down in the Promised Land around Athy.
I did once suggest to the Irish Tillage and Land Use Society that it would make an interesting, if nerdy, topic for the winter conference but they didn’t bite
Considering we’ve only had 650mm rain in the last 12 months, the Kildalkey fields quickly became very wet in March, which surprised me. The water table shot up quicker than Venezuelan inflation, to its seasonal norm. I didn’t think there was enough rainfall to do this.
It was as if seasonal hydraulic forces were brought to bear on the rising water table but as I’m no hydrologist, I don’t understand why.
As a matter of fact, I did once suggest to the Irish Tillage and Land Use Society that it would make an interesting, if nerdy, topic for the winter conference but they didn’t bite.
Wet holes and springs are problematic for us and field drainage to alleviate them has only mixed results.
The spring barley was eventually sown on 12 April into an excellent Athy gold standard seedbed in two heavy fields. Quite why conditions were so good, again I don’t know, but I suspect it was a legacy from last summer and the fact that it followed a cover crop.
The Sprinter drill is a combine one so the fertiliser went down the spout but I don’t like a combine drill as fertiliser corrosion should ideally be limited to the spreader. It bugs me to see subtle signs of corrosion already setting in on the drill fittings after just three seasons. Fertiliser and water (to wash down) and lots of electronics are a potentially disastrous combination.
So, you ask, what are we doing with a combine drill? Good question. The trainee management thought we should, that’s why
I have a friend who won’t even buy a variable rate computerised fertiliser spreader for this reason. A bit over the top, but I’d limit all fertiliser application to just the Bogballe spreader.
So, you ask, what are we doing with a combine drill? Good question. The trainee management thought we should, that’s why. But it was a good job the trainee management wasn’t around when I cut open the bottom of a suspended 600kg fertiliser bag and nothing came out. Then it becomes like a time bomb. I had to give it a dunk off the hopper rim resulting in a fertiliser avalanche, splattering into every nook and cranny on the drill…
But to be positive, I have to say I bonded better sowing the barley with the Fendt 724 than I had when mucking in the beans. It was well capable of pulling the drill with 3t of seed and fertiliser at 17km/h. Quite why this was so different to sowing the beans, again I don’t know but now I’m a reasonably happy Easter bunny. And that’s as good as it gets with me.