“It’s a belter of a day for September,” said Thomas this week.
Temperatures on his farm reached 27.3°C on Tuesday, accompanied by wall-to-wall sunshine.
Thomas said the weather has been great for getting field work done.
“The combine was parked up by 20 August – that’s the earliest I remember,” he remarked.
When talking to Thomas last, he explained that his spring barley, winter hybrid rye and winter wheat were likely to come in at the same time. While that proved to be the case, as the weather was settled, he was able to manage this comfortably.
All of his spring barley passed for malting, coming in at between 9% and 9.5% protein. Moistures ranged between 20% and 21% while specific weights came in at around 65KPH. Yields started off high, coming in at around 3.5t/.ac, but gradually reduced as the harvest progressed.
Overall, his spring barley crops averaged 3.2t/ac. The crop yielded an impressive 12 4x4 round bales/ac. Straw demand has been good in his area and he hopes to have the last of it sold this week.
Thomas’s hybrid winter rye yielded 3.9t/ac at 18-19% moisture. He is happy with this yield and while the crop had begun to break down before harvesting, he didn’t lose many heads. The grain had a specific weight of around 68KPH.
The straw yields, however, were extremely impressive, averaging around 20 4x4 round bales/ac. A number of farmers in the area were interested in trying the straw, which is slightly coarser than hybrid winter barley straw.
His winter wheat crops performed well, averaging 4.8t/ac. All of the crops were grown after a break crop. Moistures came in at 18% with specific weights of around 78KPH. The crop yielded around 12 4x4 round bales/ac.
Elsewhere, he has been spreading either lime or slurry this week, taking advantage of the excellent ground conditions. He has also been sowing the last of this year’s cover crops for a neighbour.
The weather has played ball for the Donegal harvest this year. James said: “We got a great spell for the winter barley so it was unusual when we got another great one for spring barley.”
Conditions in Donegal over the past couple of weeks have been excellent, with mild temperatures and little rainfall.
Growth has also been unusually strong, so much so that James was burning off volunteers in stubble ground when talking to us this week. “It’s been like June growth up here, you can see it in the grass and potatoes,” he said.
All of his spring malting barley crops passed for distilling, with protein levels of between 8% and 8.4%. The grain is supplied to Jim and Gareth Devenney of Agricare who assemble malting barley for Boortmalt. Moistures were also low at the time of harvest, at around 16% to 17%. One field that really suffered due to the wet weather in spring yielded 2.25t/ac. James said the barley itself did well, but the bare patches in the field dragged the average yield down. The rest of his spring barley averaged around 2.75t/ac.
The barley straw did very well, however, averaging 10 4x4 round bales/ac in most fields. He sold much of this straw from the field but opted to store the rest. He decided not to stubble cultivate his fields this year as volunteer growth was so strong with the mild temperatures.
Elsewhere, he has been busy cutting hedges and spreading lime. He spread a total of 80t of lime on stubble and grassland at a rate of 2.5t/ac. He said field conditions are excellent and there was no tracking.
James will soon start ploughing for his 2022 winter cereals. This year he is growing Tardis winter barley after securing the seed early. He said he would normally start sowing around 17 September to get the crop established in good conditions.
The weather has been brilliant in Enniscorthy over the past two weeks, said Padraig. As a result, he has been busy tidying up field work and has started harvesting spring beans.
When talking to him last, he was 70% through with his winter wheat harvest. He said that overall the crop did well, with first wheat yields averaging 4.8t/ac.
While this is a good yield, the crop looked exceptional all year and he thought it might have yielded more. His second wheats, however, yielded around 3.6t/ac, bringing the total average down to 4.5t/ac. On average, the crop yielded seven 8x3x4 square bales/ac but he did opt to chop and incorporate an amount of this straw.
His hybrid winter rye yielded a disappointing 3.3t/ac but Padraig said you can’t judge the crop on one year’s performance. He thinks the wet period shortly after sowing last autumn and the harsh weather when PGRs were applied likely contributed to this lower than expected yield.
However, he was impressed with how the crop yielded in terms of straw, averaging the equivalent of 16 4x4 round bales/ac. Padraig said the straw resembles hybrid winter barley straw but is slightly courser. He intends on growing the crop again for 2022.
His spring barley crops yielded around 3.15t/ac which he was very happy with considering how they looked all year. With protein levels of between 8.7% and 10.5%, all of the crop passed for malting. The crop yielded around 3.7 8x3x4 square bales/ac.
He had just started his spring beans when talking to him this week, with the crop averaging 2.9t/ac so far. The crop looked like it had reasonably good potential. Yield reports in the area ranged from 2.1-2.5t/ac.
Padraig drilled winter oilseed rape in exceptional conditions. He drilled the variety Ambassador at a rate of 45seed/m3. He also added 185kg/ha
of 10:10:20 down the spout when drilling and rolled the field after. He applied a pre-emerge herbicide of Butisan S at a rate of 1.25l/ha and also applied slug pellets.