James English was extremely happy with his winter wheat as he chatted from the combine on Monday evening.

The wheat was heading over 4.5t/ac at 15-16% moisture content and KPH (kilogrammes per hectolitre) levels of 77 and over. Straw from the crop is heading for mushroom compost.

The low moisture levels are making drying a bit easier and are of course saving a lot of diesel at a time when prices are high.

Winter rye will be cut towards the end of the week and James hopes to have the harvest wrapped up on Saturday in what has been an exceptional year.

Planet spring barley went under the knife last week and it was hitting 3.5t/ac in spots at 17-20% moisture content. The yield was not surprising at a KPH of 70.

Since we spoke last month James has been extremely busy. Winter oats and oilseed rape were harvested after the winter barley. The oilseed rape averaged 2t/ac at moisture levels below 9%. Some of the crop even hit 6% moisture content. The straw was chopped.

The winter oats yielded over 4t/ac at 17-20% moisture content and at KPH levels of 55 and 56. They are destined for the equine market and James commented that the crop looked well all year.

James has most of his ground cultivated after sowing so far to allow volunteers to come up and while ground was dry for this job previously, it is even more so now. Cover crops will go in by the weekend, hopefully.

There is no stop to the work though. James aims to plant winter oilseed rape around 20 August. While price is good now and this is no doubt a big plus to growing the crop, the value of oilseed rape to the next crop is invaluable.

Overall James is very happy with crop performance and harvest progress and is already planning for the next season.

Stuart Fitzgerald was on the combine on Monday evening cutting winter wheat.

The crop he was in was at 17-18% moisture content. The weekend’s weather helped bring down the moisture. Winter wheat was over 20% earlier in the weekend but was dropping fast in the hot weather on Monday.

Stuart Fitzgerald is busy harvesting this week.

The crops after break crops were holding out for longer. While Stuart does not have exact yields, he estimates that the crop is doing 4-4.5t/ac. The straw will go for compost in the mushroom industry.

The winter wheat only received plant nutrition at the T1 fungicide timing and received fungicide at T2 and T3.

Since we spoke last, winter barley, oats and oilseed rape have all been harvested on the farm. Winter barley yielded around 3t/ac and Stuart said the Joyau had a higher KPH than two-row varieties and virus may have contributed to the lower KPH levels.

The winter barley received just one fungicide, along with plenty of nutrition.

The winter oats hit 3.5t/ac and the spend was low on the crop. No artificial P or K was applied, the crop received one fungicide and foliar nutrition.

All of the winter crops were no-tilled and Stuart applies chicken litter to a lot of the farm.

Stuart has a good market for straw and baled all of his winter barley straw. Winter wheat straw will go for mushroom compost, while the oats and oilseed rape straw were chopped. He has cover crops planted after winter barley and stubble cultivation was complied with before the rule change, but there was very little growth.

Stuart did well with his winter oilseed rape this year. It received just 65 units/ac of artificial nitrogen and yielded 1.9t/ac on average across the farm at 7-9% moisture content.

He plans to sow winter oilseed rape in August and is delighted that the weather is so good for harvest to allow a clear run at planting.

He said the area planted to oilseed rape will most likely be up as price, weather and early sowing are all positives for the crop.

Shane Nolan was waiting on a heavy dew to lift before getting back into some of his spring oats when we chatted on Tuesday.

He was stopped early enough on Monday night when that dew fell. Moisture content in the crop was good at 18% and the combine was showing yields of 2-2.5t/ac.

Spring barley was next on the list and a moisture sample from the crop put it at 17.5%. Shane is happy with his crops, but noted there won’t be any record yields this season.

Shane Nolan is busy harvesting this week.

More of his spring barley is further behind and won’t be ready for a few days, but will most likely be ripe by the time Shane finishes up what’s ahead of him in the combine at present. Recent warm weather, along with the proximity to the sea, is helping to bring in crops.

Shane is storing his grain and said: “I’ll store as much as I can until I get a reasonable price.”

He commented that he has spent a lot of money on fertiliser and plant protection products and is frustrated to see grain being imported and wants to see fair prices offered to farmers for their grain.

On the straw front, Shane has plenty of custom, but no definite price yet, although he is hoping to land straw in yards for €30/bale and will avoid storage wherever possible.

Shane noted that some straw is very short on lighter ground, but none will be chopped.

A fungicide and some foliar feed (boron) was applied to Shane’s beet last Saturday. Fungicides should keep rust, mildew and leaf spot under control. Some of the beet has suffered badly from drought and weeds are an issue in some crops.

Second-cut silage continues and this is keeping Shane busy outside of the harvest as he has a contracting business.