When talking to Con this week, he didn’t hold back when explaining the recent weather in Kerry.
“It has been atrocious here since the last time I was talking to you, conditions have been very wet,” he commented.
However, with settled weather forecast for next week, Con is hopeful that field work will recommence soon.
He was able to sow 55ac of SY Performer hybrid winter rye two weeks ago, in what he describes as mediocre conditions. The crop was sown at a rate of 78kg/ha using a plough and one-pass drill. Con increased the seed rate slightly this year.
He applied a pre-emerge herbicide spray of Tower at a rate of 2l/ha. Con thinks the crop will be crimped next year, as he doesn’t think there will be enough demand for the grain by merchants in the area and straw volumes are too high for wholecropping and pitting.
So far, he has 5ac of Graham winter wheat sown out of a planned 200ac. The crop was sown at 172kg/ha. Con intends on harvesting his maize next week and sowing winter wheat straight after. His maize crops are very tall, but he doesn’t think the cobs are extraordinary this year.
He generally doesn’t sow winter barley on his farm, as the harvest normally clashes with silage season
He still has slurry to spread and hopes to apply some of this onto the maize stubble ahead of ploughing, if ground conditions are good enough.
He generally doesn’t sow winter barley on his farm, as the harvest normally clashes with silage season.
Con notes that there is a significant amount of crows in his area, which are causing problems for crops and livestock. When talking to him this week, he was in the middle of a TB test.
Con says that there has been a high amount of cases of TB in his area lately and questions if the large numbers of crows, which move from farm to farm, have something to do with this. He says you would often find crows around feeders in fields.
With the exception of a couple of very heavy showers over the past week, Padraig says that rainfall amounts in Enniscorthy have been relatively low.
However, showery weather has made the winter sowing campaign a challenge at times, he remarks.
Growth has been strong in his area and as a result, he held back sowing until temperatures cooled down. He sowed his hybrid winter rye on 24 September into great conditions.
This year, Padraig is growing the variety Serafino and sowed it at a rate of 68kg/ha.
The field was first grubbed, then drilled and rolled. The crop is just now emerging and is due to receive a herbicide spray in the coming weeks, likely consisting of Firebird.
Next, he moved onto sowing Graham winter wheat at a rate of 150kg/ha. He will a small amount of the new variety Spearhead for seed. The crops will receive a post-emerge herbicide of Stomp Aqua and DFF.
He also sowed much of his winter barley. This year, he is growing Pixel, which was sown at a rate of 170kg/ha. The crops received a pre-emerge herbicide of Firebird (0.3l/ha) and DFF (0.1 l/ha).
Padraig says he hasn’t had the opportunity to roll either the winter wheat or the barley fields, as conditions weren’t good enough.
Elsewhere, he has been able to spread a lot of lime this year and get hedge cutting done ahead of sowing
He is around 90% through with barley and wheat drilling, but hasn’t started oats yet. He has decided to hold off for another week until things cool down further.
He is aiming to sow Husky oats this year for the equine feed market.
Elsewhere, he has been able to spread a lot of lime this year and get hedge cutting done ahead of sowing.
Padraig says that grain prices will need to keep increasing in order to offset the extremely high fertiliser price. Otherwise, margins will take a severe blow. He says he will also be looking at importing more organic manures in the future.
Showery weather has returned to the northwest, which James says is normal for this time of year.
While showers have been hit and miss, when they did fall they were heavy.
As such, ground conditions have turned sticky. Growth until this week had been very good, however cooler nights are slowing things down.
He began sowing winter barley around 18 September and finished five days later. The early sown crop has emerged and is developing well, while his later sown crops are just emerging.
“Things always cool down up here, so there’s no harm in sowing early,” James explains.
We find that you can see the tractor wheel marks after sowing right the way through to harvest, even if ground conditions are good
He started with Tardis winter barley, sowing at rate of 180kg/ha. The ground was ploughed before drilling with a one-pass. He says the sample of seed was excellent and the pickle was plump.
Like many growers in the northwest, James generally doesn’t roll the winter cereal ground after sowing.
“We find that you can see the tractor wheel marks after sowing right the way through to harvest, even if ground conditions are good,” he says.
He decided to sow winter malting barley for the first time. He is growing the variety Vessel, which is acceptable for distilling. The crop was sown at 180kg/ha into potato ground. James says the crop of early potatoes were harvested in excellent conditions. He disced the field, ploughed it and drilled it shortly after the potatoes were harvested. All winter cereals received a pre-emerge herbicide of Navigate (0.3l/ha) and DFF (0.1l/ha).
His next job in the field will be to apply zinc and manganese trace elements when ground conditions improve. His ground is particularly low in these trace elements and he notices a big improvement in crop performance when they are applied.
The other maincrop potatoes on his land are senescing and will be harvested in the coming weeks. He also bought in ewe lambs to graze excess grass over the winter. He hopes to sell them as breeding hoggets next spring.