John Crowley

Mallow, Co Cork

John harvesting the last of his winter barley this week.

When talking to John this week, he was just after finishing harvesting the last of his winter barley crops. Harvest weather in Cork has been truly exceptional, with temperatures peaking at 30°C last Thursday. He says that 2018 harvest weather was similar, except crop performance is considerably better this year.

His winter barley harvest started last Monday with the six-row variety Cosmos. He runs a New Holland 8070 combine with a 20ft header. John also gets help from local contractor Mike Cooney, with his two Deutz Fahr combines during harvest. Going well, he can harvest on average 100ac in a day.

John harvesting the last of his winter barley this week.

The crop did well, averaging around 4t/ac at 14-15% moisture. The straw was left for one day before baling, as it was still slightly green. John didn’t expect his two-row varieties to ripen as quick. However, the hot temperatures meant that his Valarie, Cassia and Infinity were all fit for harvest straight after his Cosmos.

His Valarie two-row variety was the poorest of the three, but still managed a respectable 3.8t/ac at 16% moisture. The crop suffered from straw breakdown, so he was lucky to get harvesting it when he did.

John moved on to his Cassia and Infinity varieties shortly after and he was happy with how they performed, averaging 4t/ac at 15-16%. Specific weights averaged 68KPH. Straw yields were also very good. Once the straw is baled and cleared, he will apply pig slurry onto the stubble ahead of next year’s crop.

John dries all of his grain to 13.5% moisture using his grain dryer before tipping in the shed for storage. He thinks he will begin to move this year’s crop to customers within the next three weeks.

John says he will make a start at winter oats this week, weather permitting. The crop has looked good all year, so he is optimistic about its potential.

His winter wheat crops are coming in quick and he thinks he could make a start next week. However, the arrival of cooler weather and rain may slow things down, he says.

Jonathan Kelly

Limavady, Co Derry

Jonathan is half way through his winter barley harvest.

Jonathan’s harvest kicked off last week with his hybrid winter rye. The crops were wholecropped for local anaerobic digestion plants. The crops did very well, with fresh weights ranging from 14t/ac to 20t/ac, depending on the field.

He describes last week’s weather as the hottest he has ever experienced on his farm. Temperatures peaked at 28.7 °C on 22 July. His spring barley crops are suffering from a lack of moisture however, while his maize crops are looking fantastic.

Jonathan is half way through his winter barley harvest.

He started harvesting winter barley last Thursday with his Claas Lexion 630 Montana and 22ft header. Crops came in at 15-16% moisture and have so far averaged 3t/ac.

He is very happy with these yields, as the crops were grown on dry, sandy soil. When talking to Jonathan this week, he was halfway through his winter barley harvest. He was careful not to harvest too far ahead this week, as the forecasted rain could make things difficult for straw.

In general, his straw is green and is taking some time to mature. However, so far the crop has baled up well, averaging 6.5 8x4x3 square bales/ac.

Jonathan is aiming to cultivate the stubble when the straw is cleared in order to create a stale seedbed.


He thinks some of his earlier oilseed rape could be ready for harvest next week. However, the crops that suffered severe bird damage are much further behind and will only be burned off this week. Jonathan intends on baling the oilseed straw this year.

His winter wheat has ripened quickly in the intense sunshine, but is still a number of weeks away from harvest.

His maize crops are looking great, having really benefited from the good weather. The crop is lush, green and tall. With that said, some crops on hilly areas would benefit from moisture.

His spring barley crops are also under pressure for moisture, so this week’s rain will be welcomed.

Norman Dunne

Kilgraigue, Co Meath

Norman baling the last of his winter barley straw this week.

When talking to Norman this week, the rain still hadn’t arrived despite the forecast. The pressure was on to get the last of this year’s winter barley straw baled and cleared.

Norman farms on heavy soil, so moisture stress hasn’t been an issue this year. The ground now has deep cracks due to the dryness, which will help open it up, he says.

Norman baling the last of his winter barley straw this week.

He harvested his winter barley crop last week and was happy with its performance. The crops yielded between 3.4t/ac to 3.7t/ac. This is around average for his farm, but remember, this crop was direct drilled. Moistures ranged from 14-16%, with specific weights coming in at 68-69 KPH.

The straw was largely ripe, but did have some greenness in it at the time of harvest, so was left to mature for a couple of days. The straw matured quickly in last week’s high temperatures of 29.2°C. The crops did well, averaging eight to 10 4x4 round bales/ac. Norman also managed to make a third crop of hay since talking to him last.

Cover crops

Once the straw is cleared, he will plant a cover crop. This year, he bought straight seed and intends on mixing them himself. He is aiming to plant mustard (0.5kg/ha), tillage raddish (2kg/ha), phacelia (0.5kg/ha), forage rape (0.5kg/ha), buckwheat (0.5kg/ha), linseed (2kg/ha), berseem clover (0.5kg/ha) and balansa clover (1kg/ha). The crops will be drilled this week to coincide with the rain. He will also apply compost or dung onto the field prior to drilling.

Norman remains unsure which crop will be ready next. His winter wheat, spring barley, spring oats and spring wheat are all ripening quickly. He says that all crops are looking good, with no lodging. He will soon begin drying this year’s winter barley crop for storage. Norman says that the dryer will really only aerate and clean the grain, as moistures are low to begin with. His spring beans are looking good, however an amount of rust has appeared in the crop.