When talking to Tim this week, he was parked up due to broken weather. However, overall, his harvest is going well, with good crop and straw yields so far.
He is currently down to his last 40ac of winter oats.
One block of oats was badly affected with oat mosaic virus, but still averaged 3.1t/ac at 16% moisture. He was very happy with this yield.
Crops on the worst-affected parts of the field were severely stunted and dragged the yield average down.
His last block of winter oats contains the Department of Agriculture variety trials. Tim intends to take a thorough look through the various varieties before they are harvested.
He is chopping half of his winter oat straw this year under the Straw Incorporation Measure. He says the combine was working at maximum capacity when chopping the straw and he noticed this in his diesel consumption.
Tim is particularly conscious of the risk of fire around harvest time this year, with one machine having a near miss in his fields. Extra effort was made to clean machinery during the hot weather at the start of the harvest.
It was during this hot spell that he cut his winter barley. He said that grain moistures dropped during the high temperatures, with most of it coming in at between 11.8% and 13.5%. This cost him yield. Despite this, however, the crops did well. His hybrid Belfry six-row, which was sown on sandy soil, yielded 3.3t/ac. His Valerie variety was sown on heavier ground and yielded 4.21t/ac.
Tim has noticed that some of his spring beans are turning quickly and the stems are beginning to break halfway up the crop
Straw yields in all varieties were also excellent, ranging from 12 to 16 4x4 round bales/ac. Tim said the grain filling period was excellent for winter barley this year.
He thinks his winter wheat is still a week away from harvest, while his spring barley crops, which look promising, are 10 days away. Some patches have gone down in his spring barley.
Tim has noticed that some of his spring beans are turning quickly and the stems are beginning to break halfway up the crop.
“We have been lucky and missed a lot of the rain which came last week, but when we did get a shower, it was heavy,” Thomas said this week.
The weather at the start of harvest 2021 was a talking point for all growers this year and Thomas is no different. His winter barley harvest was a joy, helped by long days of uninterrupted sunshine.
The harvest commenced on 16 July with his SY Joyau variety. The crop averaged 3.6t/ac at between 14% and 15% moisture. Specific weights came in at around 66KPH. He said this was a disappointing yield as he expected it to do better. The straw managed around 12 4x4 round bales/ac, however.
Next, he moved on to the variety Belfry which averaged a very decent 4t/ac at 14%-15% moisture. Specific weights were good, at 67KPH. Straw yields where excellent, with the crop averaging 14 round bales/ac.
Thomas questioned if the plant was at a less sensitive stage when the frost arrived in spring
His Cassia “blew the others out of the water” averaging 4.3t/ac at 15% moisture. Specific weights were high too, coming in at 70-72KPH.
The crop was grown with home-saved seed and looked great throughout the season. It was sown later, so Thomas questioned if the plant was at a less sensitive stage when the frost arrived in spring. The crop also managed 12 round bales/ac.
He says that baling the straw was challenging, as it was very dry and kept slipping in the bale chamber.
Thomas moved on to winter oats immediately after and managed to finish cutting this crop before the weather broke. All of his oat straw is being chopped this year and he said if it wasn’t, it would have been a significant challenge to save the straw.
The Husky crop did very well, averaging 4.3t/ac at between 16% and 17% moisture, with specific weights of 56-57KPH.
Thomas thinks his winter rye and winter wheat will be ready around the same time
Thomas began harvesting malting barley for Dairygold last weekend. The first loads were cut in broken weather at 21% moisture. He had no indication of yield, but protein is 9.5% at 67kph. is hoping to move to spring barley as soon as the weather improves. Thomas thinks his winter rye and winter wheat will be ready around the same time.
James was lucky and missed the worst of the showers at the beginning of last week. However, things quickly changed on Friday, as thundershowers resulted in 35mm of rain in a few hours.
That said, ground conditions are still holding up ok. James said that during the dry spell, the ground developed deep cracks. This means that so far the land can take this level of rainfall.
Growth is still very good, however, helped by mild temperatures. This is really evident in his hay fields, which have greened up considerably and are now being used to graze lambs.
James started harvesting his winter barley on 20 July, with the help of local contractors Curran Bros. The high temperatures came a week too early for most growers in Donegal, as crops were only just about fit for harvest.
When James started, moistures were high, coming in at 27%. So, he waited a couple of days to allow moistures to drop and when he restarted, grain moistures had fallen to 17%. By the time he had his first trailer load of grain cut, moistures had dropped to 14.5%.
One crop of James’s Tower winter barley, which followed spring oilseed rape, yielded 4.25t/ac. He was very happy with this, especially from a poorer field. Other fields of the same variety were poorer and some of them yielded as low as 3.25t/ac. His crop of Patriot yielded 3.75t/ac. This crop had a number of blank grain sites, so he wondered if that brought down his average yield.
James said his spring barley is around a week away from harvest
Both varieties produced a big crop of straw, which is now all accounted for. James said he has ordered 2022 winter barley seed already, as he believes supplies could be tight. He plans to cultivate some of the stubbles when weather permits.
James said his spring barley is around a week away from harvest. All of his crops are still standing well, despite some going down in the area. Elsewhere on-farm, he is catching up with fencing and draining around the farm.