The weather has been nothing short of perfect for winter and spring cereals, says Seamus.
“We couldn’t get better, we had the right amount of heat, rain, dry and calm weather at the right times this year. It’s been perfect,” he explains.
The same can’t be said for some of his beet crop however. Around 5ac of this crop had to be re-drilled as the heavy rain, which fell on Easter Sunday, capped some of his heavier ground.
At the time, this ground was freshly drilled with beet and as a result, emergence was very poor in the field.
The rest of his beet crops are doing well however and now have four true leaves. The crops got their first weed spray last week, which consisted of Goltex, Venzar, Oblix, Beetshield and Debut.
Seamus splits the application into two, spraying half in the morning and half at night to ensure he doesn’t miss any weeds. In total, he hopes to only apply two weed sprays this year.
He is very happy with his spring barley crops. The later-sown crops were struggling, but the arrival of rain has brought them along.
The crops received a weed spray consisting of Ally Max and Galaxy last week, as well as an application of Cycocel.
His earlier-sown spring barley crops received a T1 fungicide of Tacanza Era (0.7l/ha) around 10 days ago and are rapidly heading towards flag leaf emergence. He also added an aphicide in the tank as he believes aphid pressure is high in the area.
The gates are closed on his winter barley crops, having received their T2 fungicide two weeks ago. The tank mix consisted of Decoy (0.4l/ha) and Priaxor (0.8l/ha). A week before the crops’ T2, he applied Terpal as a PGR.
Seamus is nearly finished building a new grain store for harvest 2022. However, like many who are building sheds at the minute, the dramatic rise of material costs are a concern for him.
Like many other tillage farmers, the past few weeks have been hectic for Patrick. While planting has been finished for some time, he has been busy with spraying and also with his New Zealand Romney sheep flock.
Grass is growing well and so are the crops, so it seemed like everything had to be done at the same time.
A combination of sheep, catch crops and access to poultry litter means that most of the land is now in very good condition. He believes that this is standing to his crops, especially in the early part of the season.
All of Patrick’s spring crops were sprayed around 14 May. Before that, his Planet spring barley had been sprayed for wild oats and aphids towards the end of April. This crop is now looking very well, seems totally clean and is around GS30/31.
When the crop was sprayed in mid-May, it was at late tillering stage. It received a mix of herbicide (Boudha 15g/ha plus Universe 1.5 l/ha) plus fungicide (Helix 0.62 l/ha plus Inception 0.27 l/ha) and growth regulator (CCC 0.9 l/ha plus Moxa 0.09 l/ha).
Patrick is of the view that this mix seemed a bit too hot and left a lot of blotching on leaves. However, the crop is likely to grow out of this.
His Joyau and Tardis winter barley received their final spray on 13 May as they began to ear out.
This was a mix of Helix (0.62 l/ha) plus Lamast (folpet) at 1.2 l/ha plus Kavatur Plus (0.5 l/ha).
His Lynx spring beans were also sprayed around 14 May. These were treated with a mix of Falcon (1.0 l/ha) for canary grass and other grasses, Karate at 30ml/ha for bean weevil and MagPhos K at 2.5l/ha.
Patrick said he included this because some of the land where the beans are growing is sharp and he is trying to get the crop to grow through any early moisture constraints.
There has been good growing weather in Donegal, says Michael. It’s been warm and mild with plenty of moisture, which has helped drive crops on. Ground conditions are just marginal however and Michael had to delay top dressing spring barley last week to allow the ground to dry. Despite the growthy conditions, disease pressure remains manageable.
He plans to apply a T1 fungicide later this week, along with a weed spray. He will likely use Ally Max and Hurler for weed control, but may also use Galaxy depending on the weed pressure. So far, the crops are clean. He is questioning the need for an aphicide, as despite the warm weather, there has been a lot of rainfall, which doesn’t favour aphids, explains Michael. He top dressed the crops last week with another 77kg N/ha.
His spring oats are moving along well, but he notices a difference between the crops grown with his home-saved seed versus seed bought this year. Regardless however, all crops are looking well.
Michael plans to apply a herbicide this week and a PGR. So far, the crop has received 100kg N/ha, along with organic manures and he doesn’t think he will go much further than that.
His winter barley head spray consisted of Siltra (0.6l/ha) and Folpet (1.5l/ha). Despite some BYDV infection, crops are looking well. His winter wheat crops have come along very well in the past couple of weeks. They received their last application of nitrogen at the end of April, bringing the crop up to 200kg N/ha.
A T2 fungicide application of Proline (0.6/ha) and Amistar (0.4l/ha) was applied on 7 May. Disease pressure in the upper canopy remains minimal.
Michael is busy with other jobs around the farm, including installing and maintaining drains and sowing wholecrop barley undersown with grass. He will use the wholecrop to feed his cattle over the winter.