Brendan Lynch – Ardee, Louth

The 18mm of rain which fell on Brendan’s farm on Sunday last has done little harm. If anything, the moisture has helped soften the ground ahead of winter cereal sowing, says Brendan.

It’s been a good month in Louth and ground conditions remain excellent.

Brendan sowing winter wheat this week.

Growth has been strong and Brendan says temperatures hit 20°C last weekend.

While things have cooled down since, ground conditions remain good.

His winter cereal sowing campaign kicked off this week, starting with Graham at 150kg/ha.

He ploughs ahead using his two five-furrow Kverneland reversibles before sowing with his 4m Lemken Solitair 9 drill.

Brendan says he would roll the field if he got 48 hours of drying weather after sowing

He is aiming to drill around 200ac of winter wheat into stubble before moving on to winter barley. Once his potatoes are harvested he intends to drill more wheat in these fields.

Brendan says he would roll the field if he got 48 hours of drying weather after sowing. Otherwise he will avoid rolling to prevent compaction and capping.

Next he will move on to sowing LG Castings, Bazooka and Belfry winter barley before finishing with Husky winter oats.

These winter barley varieties in particular do well on his farm, Brendan said.

He sowed a small amount of stubble turnips and phacelia as a cover crop in stubble which are also doing well.


If all goes according to plan he will start harvesting his maincrop potatoes by 11 October. He thinks this year’s crops will be average as they had a tricky start and there was some virus in the seed.

However, crops differ from field to field, he says.

As his potato main crop consist of 100% Rooster, he thinks all of the crops should be ready around the same time.

It will take around two weeks of harvesting to lift the crops and he aims to have this completed by 31 October at the latest. The crops will go straight into cold storage.

His winter oilseed rape crops are all coming along well. He says there is a significant difference between those crops sown in August and early September, however.

Thomas Lonergan – Cahir, Tipperary

There have been a few passing showers in Tipperary this week but ground conditions remain excellent.

Like all areas, growth has been strong in September and Thomas is surprised by how well his late-sown catch crops have developed.

Thomas has been busy cutting hedges for much of September.

He sowed Tayo hybrid winter rye last week at a rate of 62kg/ha. He says seeding rates are low with this crop and one box of 360kg worth of seed generally does around 6ha.

He hopes to start sowing winter barley later this week

The crop was drilled using his Kuhn 3m one-pass into ploughed ground and rolled after. He says he didn’t increase the area of the crop significantly as it proved slow to harvest last year.

“You’d be cutting at 1.8-2km/h max as straw volumes are so big,” says Thomas. The crop fell in the middle of winter wheat and spring barley harvest this year, which proved awkward for him.

He hopes to start sowing winter barley later this week but there is no major panic just yet. This year he is growing Cassia, Belfry and Bazooka as these varieties consistently perform well on his farm.

Next he will move on to Costello winter wheat and Husky winter oats, aiming to be finished by the third week of October.

Summer cover trial

This year, he trialled growing a summer cover crop after winter oats. The straw was chopped under the Straw Incorporation Measure and disced.

Before discing, he spread mustard seed, which is fast-establishing.

Thomas was happy with how it established and grew a high amount of biomass above ground but he thought the roots were somewhat shallow.

The crop was recently burned off ahead of ploughing for winter barley. He intends to try this again but says that the crop needs to be sown in July.

Thomas supplies most of his grain to Dairygold and he was happy with their price which was announced this week

Elsewhere, he has caught up with ground maintenance jobs like spreading lime, slurry and farmyard manure and he is currently cutting hedges.

Thomas supplies most of his grain to Dairygold and he was happy with their price which was announced this week. He is concerned about the rising input costs, however, particularly fertiliser.

Michael Kennedy – Athenry, Galway

The weather has turned this week in Galway, explains Michael. Mild temperatures and low rainfall had made for a very good September, with excellent ground conditions.

However, autumn arrived on Sunday with the onset of cooler temperatures and rain.

Michael finished sowing winter barley last week.

Field conditions are still excellent and Michael hopes the weather doesn’t break down completely as he heads into the potato harvest.

He was happy with how his cereal harvest finished up. He says that yields, weather and prices were good which is rare.

“You would find it hard to get a harvest as good,” he explains.

He planted a number of catch crops into stubble in order to meet his Ecological Focus Area (EFA) requirements.

The stubble turnip and kale mix was sown by a contractor into disced ground. The crops are just emerging and he doesn’t intend on grazing them over winter. He was also able to tidy up the last bits of silage last week, he explains.

Winter sowing

He has completed all of his planned winter cereal sowing. Last week he drilled Infinity winter barley in excellent conditions.

The crop was drilled at 188kg/ha and some of it was rolled after. He is worried about the effect of this week’s rain on rolled ground, fearing it could cap and hold the water.

His maincrop potatoes will be ready in stages

All of his attention is now turning to potatoes. Currently he is harvesting potatoes as they are needed and aims to start the maincrop harvest at the end of next week, weather permitting.

His maincrop potatoes will be ready in stages and he needs a number of settled spells over the coming month.

He is desiccating crops using Spotlight this year as, despite a derogation being granted for Diquat, it is proving very hard to source.

He used Spotlight twice but haulms are proving slow to die off.

The main crop will be harvested and graded before putting into storage. More on this next month.