James Robinson

Newtown- cunningham, Donegal

It continues to be a wet spring in Donegal. Around 91mm of rain fell on James’s farm over the past month with just a few dry days. Ground conditions have been poor and he has had to pick and choose when he sprays. “It’s been a difficult spring for getting spray timings right,” he says.

James's early-sown spring barley is coming along well.

Crops are well behind where they were this time last year on account of the colder weather, according to James. Crop development is also slower. For example, his T2 and T3 fungicide spray in his winter barley were 25 days apart. However this slow development isn’t necessarily a bad thing, he says.

His winter barley crops are very clean so far and he thinks this is due to the cooler than average weather. He applied its T2 fungicide when the crops awns were fully out. It consisted of Siltra (0.6l/ha), Folpet (1.5l/ha) and Magflo (1l/ha). He notices a big difference between the varieties Patriot and Tower, with the latter being the weaker of the two.

Spring crops

James sowed his last field of spring barley on 22 April. It was the variety Splendor and is destined for malting. The crop was sown into 2020 potato ground which is two years out of grass. He noticed an amount of grubs in the field but as it rolled sown after sowing, there is little he can do. He kept nitrogen levels down to 112kg N/ha and applied this in one application in the seedbed. Emergence has been good although crows have been an issue, James explains.

He has decided to apply weed sprays separately this year and intends on applying the products Ergon (360g/ha) and Universe (0.8l/ha) next week

His earlier-sown spring barley crops are due to receive an application of trace elements including magnesium, boron and seaweed extract. He has decided to apply weed sprays separately this year and intends on applying the products Ergon (360g/ha) and Universe (0.8l/ha) next week. In general, these spring barley crops are looking great, having on average between seven and nine tillers.

James doesn’t apply a spring insecticide on his crops. He notes the high amount of pollinators and natural predators in his wild bird covers which he attributes to low aphid pressure.

Tim Ronaldson

Naas, Kildare

Some 60mm of rain has fallen on Tim’s farm over the past month. While the rain was welcomed, crops have really only begun to respond in the past 10 days as temperatures increased.

Tim applying liquid nitrogen on spring barley.

Ground conditions have turned sticky over the past week due to wet weather. He says disease pressure seems to be low this year although some disease is cropping up in his oats.

Tim’s spring barley crops are coming along great. His later-sown Planet crops have been brought up to 130kg N/ha. They have received a PGR of Stefes (0.6l/ha), the insecticide of Ravane (140ml/ha) as well as trace elements (Multiple Pro at 1l/ha) on 11 May. His early-sown Gangway and Arderin also received the same treatment as well as Binder (0.8l/ha) and Inca Max (41g/ha). They were brought to 147kg N/ha.

He intends to inspect his spring beans this week to see if they need a follow-up spray for weeds. He also used a small amount of liquid nitrogen this year as a trial.

Winter barley

Some of his six-row winter barley crops are looking thin but in general, most crops are looking good.

The awns are currently 50% emerged and he intends to apply Elatus Era at the end of the week. The crop was sprayed with Protendo (0.5l/ha) and Modem (0.5l/ha) on 26 April.

Tim intends to bring the crops to 250kg N/ha next week

His winter wheat crops have really begun to move thanks to the warmer weather. The flag leaf is around 50% emerged on most crops now.

Tim intends to bring the crops to 250kg N/ha next week. On 7 May he applied a T1 of Protendo (0.7l/ha) and Elatus Plus (0.7l/ha).

Finally, his winter oat crops were brought up to 170 kg N/ha last week using the compound 19:0:15.

He says the extra K is to help increase straw strength. On 14 May the crops received a T1 of Winger (0.3l/ha) and Tebucur (0.5l/ha).

Tim has had to be very careful this year to avoid scorching crops.

Thomas Lonergan

Cahir, Tipperary

When talking to Thomas last, his crops were coming under pressure for moisture. Since then, everything has turned around, he says.

Thomas applying a head spray on his hybrid winter rye.

Over the past month nearly 80mm of rain has fallen on his farm. Crops have greened up considerably as a result.

His spring barley crops are due to receive a T1 this week of Comet (0.5l/ha) and Decoy (0.4l/ha). Crops in general are relatively clean this year, says Thomas. There was some crow damage in earlier sown crops but they have since tillered well.

He is also happy with his winter barley crops. His Joyau is fully headed out and is much more advanced than his Belfry and Cassia. The crops, with the exception of his Cassia variety whose awns are just peeping, will receive a T3 head spray this week of Imtrex (1l/ha), Decoy (0.5l/ha) and Arizona (1.2l/ha). He is also applying boron (0.5l/ha of Maxbor) on to his Belfry crop as a trial to see if it helps with grain fill. The crops received a T2 fungicide spray at the end of April consisting of Elatus Era (0.5l/ha) and Lamast (1l/ha). His Belfry also received Terpal at 1l/ha.

Winter wheat

The flag leaf on Thomas’s winter wheat crops is emerging and he thinks they will be due their T2 fungicide in around 10 days’ time. He says the crops are largely clean and have so far received a T1 of Revystar (1.25l/ha) and Arazona (1.5/ha) as well as Cycocel (1l/ha).

His winter rye continues to impress and is now fully headed out

His winter oats have been slow to develop and he thinks it could be a late harvest. The crop received a T1 of Decoy (0.2l/ha) and Moxa (0.2l/ha) as well as Cycocel (1l/ha) and Modum (0.6l/ha) at the end of April.

His winter rye continues to impress and is now fully headed out. He intends to apply a head spray this week of Prosaro (1l/ha) and Globaztar (0.35l/ha). The crop has received just one fungicide so far. Thomas has also sown his oats and linseed wild bird cover mix for GLAS.