Seamus Duggan – Durrow, Laois

While the odd shower of rain put a temporary halt to field work last week, amounts in general have been small, says Seamus. Field conditions for spring work are excellent but conditions are cold and growth is limited, he remarks.

His Craft and Electrum winter malting barley are both looking well. However, he noted that his Electrum crop is significantly taller than his Craft crop.

He finished their nitrogen programmes last week, bringing the crops to 150kg N/ha.

The crops’ nitrogen requirements were applied between the compound fertiliser and its first split in order to help the protein levels reach malting spec.

Seamus Duggan sowing the last of this spring barley crops.

The crops received a T0 fungicide application of prothioconazole (0.4l/ha) as well as CeCeCe (1l/ha) earlier this month. He intends to apply a T1 of Decoy (0.5l/ha), Comet (0.6l/ha) as well as Moddus (0.6l/ha) and Combitop (5kg/ha) this week.

Spring sowing

Seamus finished sowing spring barley this week. All of his barley is grown for seed or for malting. This year, he is growing the varieties Planet, Laureate and Tungsten, which were sown at a rate of 180-190kg/ha.

His first malting crop was sown on 15 March and establishment has been excellent. The crop was sown with 375kg/ ha of 10:8:25 plus sulfur. It was then dressed with 350kg/ha of 18:6:12 plus manganese and sulphur to help bring up the ground’s Ps and Ks. The crop stands at around 112kg N/ha.

The majority of the rest of his barley crops were sown with 625kg/ha of 18:6:12 and top-dressed with 125kg/ha of 27% N.

He intends to trial liquid nitrogen on the Laureate barley which is sown for seed. Despite the crop being destined for seed, Seamus is interested to know how using liquid N will affect protein levels so he intends to test the grain at harvest.

He runs a plough-based system and uses a five-furrow Lemken slatted-board plough, a 4.5m disc and sows with a 3m Kverneland drill with HX discs.

Crow pressure this year was particularly bad, Seamus comments. He has just started ploughing for fodder beet this week and intends to start drilling in the coming days.

Michael Kennedy – Athenry, Galway

The weather has been cold and harsh in Athenry over the past few weeks, says Michael.

There has also been little rain, however, meaning that ground is in very good condition for spring field work. Growth has been limited, however, and you can really see this by the lack of grass he explains.

This year Michael is growing Cassia winter barley. Due to a wet back end, this year’s winter crop area is lower than planned. The crop came through the winter in reasonable condition with the exception of the headlands, which are thin due to waterlogging.

Michael getting ground ready for bed-tilling.

So far the crop has received 470kg/ha of 10:7:20 and was topped up with Sulfa CAN two weeks ago.

The crops received a PGR of Optimus (0.42/ha) along with the fungicide Province (0.59l/ha) 10 days ago. He also applied trace elements to the crop earlier in the spring.

Spring field work

Field work began for spring crops at the start of April and he is currently halfway through spring cereal sowing. He ploughs ahead with a four-furrow Kverneland plough, discs with a 3m Mandam disc harrow and sows using a Kuhn/Accord one-pass drill.

This year, Michael is growing Planet spring barley and Husky spring oats. The crops are being drilled at a rate of 172kg/ha and 200kg/ha respectively. He broadcasts 370kg/ha of 10:7:20 before drilling and aims to roll soon after. He is hoping to be finished sowing spring cereals by the end of next week.

He planted the first of this year’s potato crops last week. Conditions for ridging, bed-tilling and ridging, destoning and planting are excellent.

This year he is growing Queens, Roosters and Records, all of which will be washed and packaged for sale to local shops. All grading, washing and packing is done onsite with morning deliveries taking place seven days a week.

Field work usually begins after this. Going well, he should be finished planting by mid-May. More on this next week.

Brendan Lynch – Ardee, Louth

There has been little to no rain in Ardee since 17 March, says Brendan. Ground conditions are dry, which has been ideal for getting spring work done. However the cold, frosty weather has slowed growth and fertiliser is still sitting on the surface he remarks. As a result, he is in no rush to start potato planting. The small amount of rain which has fallen over the past few weeks, however, has been welcomed.

Brendan applying nitrogen on to the winter barley.

Brendan has finished sowing his spring barley crops. This year, he is growing the variety Planet which was sown at a rate of 203kg/ha. He runs a plough-based system and uses two five-furrowKverneland ploughs, a 3m Lemken power harrow before drilling with a Lemken 4m Solitair 9 drill. Before drilling, he broadcast 430kg/ha of 10:7:25 on to the seedbed.


He aims to start ploughing for potatoes by the end of the week. Planting should begin next week and Brendan says that, weather permitting, his 2021 planting campaign should be finished within two weeks.

He is still grading and selling last year’s crop and has around 70% of the stock cleared.

He is happy with the condition of his winter crops but they would benefit from higher temperatures to assist growth.

Brendan’s Belfry, LG Castings and Infinity winter barley crops have been brought to 137kg N/ha. Last week, they received a herbicide, trace element, PGR, fungicide and insecticide spray consisting of Foxtrot (0.8l/ha), Liqui (1l/ha), Manipulator (1.2l/ha) and Province (0.45l/ha).

He is growing Conros, Costello and Graham winter wheat this year and the crops currently stand at 150 kg N/ha. Last week they received an application of Buguis (0.3l/ha), Holdup (1.5l/ha), Tribe (0.015l/ha) along with rapeseed oil (Phase II at 0.8l/ha).

Brendan’s Barra winter oats stand at around 75kg N/ha and last week received an application of Holdup (1.5l/ha), NovoFour (2l/ha), Tribe (0.015l/ha) and Starane (0.5l/ha).

He noted that his DK Extension winter oilseed rape would normally be in flower at this stage but is well behind due to the cold weather.