Iain McMordie


Co Down

When talking to Iain this week, he was one field away from finishing his spring planting campaign. Most of his spring cereal sowing was done last week, while his beans were sown the week before. Sowing conditions this year have been good, but rain over the weekend has put a stop to progress.

Iain McMordie’s Exstar hybrid winter oilseed rape with a snow-caped Mourne Mountains in the distance.

Spring beans

This year, Iain is growing Tiffany spring beans. The crop was direct drilled at a rate of 260kg/ha using his Claydon drill. He was aiming to sow 50-60 seeds/m2. He also applied 75kg K/ha in the seedbed before drilling. The field was rolled before receiving a pre-emerge herbicide of Centium (0.25l/ha), Claymore (3l/ha) and Defy (2l/ha).

He then moved onto spring oats. This year, he is growing around 117ac of Isabel oats for both milling and seed. The crop was drilled at a rate of 169kg/ha. He was aiming to sow 450 seeds/m2.

Around 37kg N/ha and 75kg K/ha were broadcast onto the seedbed before drilling. Iain also sowed his oats using a Claydon drill, after first cultivating the ground.

Winter crops

With the exception of an odd wet patch, his winter crops are looking good. As well as the two-row variety Orwell, this year he is also growing the hybrid varieties Kingsbarn and Bazooka.

The crops have all had their first and second splits of nitrogen, bringing them to 150kg N/ha. They will be due a PGR application very soon.

He will also follow up with a spring herbicide application of Starane later this month. Iain’s winter wheat crops, Extase and Graham, have also been brought up to 150kg N/ha. He says the crops are very clean and he doesn’t plan on applying a T0 fungicide this season. One of the crops didn’t receive a pre-emerge, so will get an application of Othello later this month.

Finally, his Exstar hybrid winter oilseed rape has been brought to 150kg N/ha and has also received an extra sulphur and boron spray. Most of the crop is at the green bud stage, except where pigeons have grazed it hard.

Con Barry applying the first PGR on his winter wheat crops this week.

Con Barry


Co Kerry

It was a wet and windy weekend in Kerry, which delayed any prospect of spring sowing, explains Con. His drier ground is still in reasonable condition, but wet ground is saturated. Growing conditions have been good over the past week however, with temperatures reaching 13°C.

His winter crops are looking well, he says. Most of his winter crops received 3,000g/ac of cattle slurry two weeks ago. He used an umbilical system to apply the slurry. While there was some damage to crops, Con explains that they will more than compensate in terms of vigour and yield as a result of the slurry application.

He is growing Bennington and Graham winter wheat this year. They look healthy and uniform and between slurry, farmyard manure and urea, they now stand at around 80kg N/ha. Con applied the PGR CeCeCe (1l/ha) on all the crops and tidied up a few using Pacifica (400g/ha) in fields that missed an autumn herbicide. He’ll follow up with a second PGR in 10 days.

Con is growing SY Performer winter hybrid rye for the first time this year. The crop looks excellent and is blueish-green in colour, well tillered and has great vigour. It was sprayed with Tower and DFF in November and remains clean. Earlier this week, he applied 62kg N/ha on the crop. As he is still learning about the agronomy of winter hybrid rye. He is still deciding on the appropriate PGR programme.

Spring crops

Con will start ploughing ahead for spring crops as soon as conditions improve. This year, he is sowing spring barley, spring wheat, spring oats and maize.

As most of these crops will be wholecropped and pitted, Con isn’t worried if he doesn’t start sowing until April. Delaying spring crop sowing also helps break up his harvest. As all winter crops are either crimped with the straw pitted, wholecropped and pitted or harvested with a combine, the harvest is an extremely busy time on his farm.

Padraig Kehoe sowing Laureate spring barley last week before the weather broke.

Padraig Kehoe


Co Wexford

More rain than expected fell on Padraig’s farm last weekend, which put a stop to spring sowing. While ground isn’t very wet, it is sticky enough to stop cultivations. He still has around 25% of his spring beans and 65% of his spring malting barley left to drill. The weekend’s rain put a stop to most tillage activities in his area, he explains. Despite this however, Padraig expects to restart drilling by the end of the week.

This year, he is sowing Lynx spring beans. With a TGW of 450g, he is drilling at a rate of 230kg/ha. Around 400kg/ha of 0:8:21 with Polysulfate and Wolftrax boron was sown down the spout, along with the seed.

Padraig uses a Vaderstad Cultus 300 to cultivate the ground, before levelling with a Dalbo ring roller with paddles. He then uses a Vaderstad 400 Spirit drill.

He is aiming to finish sowing spring beans this week, before moving back to spring malting barley. He is growing Laureate this year, sowing at a rate of 180kg/ha. The seed had a TGW of 47g and he is sowing 430kg/ha of 12:8:20+S down the spout with the seed.

Winter crops in good condition

He is very happy with his winter crops. His Bono winter hybrid rye was brought up to 125kg/ha this week and he plans on applying another 123kg/ha of MOP. He also applied the herbicide Monolith (0.2kg/ha) and Biopower (1l/ha) last week.

Padraig is aiming to apply the first PGR application of CeCeCe plus Moddus on the crop later this week.

All of his Graham winter wheat crops received a herbicide application of Broadway Star (265g/ha) last month to knock out wild oats.

His Isabel winter oats will also receive 123kg/ha of MOP in the coming weeks. They have received no autumn herbicide, but are due to receive an application of Galaxy and Cameo this week. Padraig says they will also likely receive a PGR next week.