Derek is busy getting ready for the harvest at present. Machines are being serviced. The dryer is being tested and sheds are being cleared, washed and sprayed down.

He expects the winter barley to be ready some time around the 15 July. Its all two-row varieties on the farm and he has noted they are a lot further behind the six-row varieties he sees along the roads.

Valerie will most likely be the first variety in, while Cassia and Tardis might be another week after this. Some grass weed control will be needed but crops in general are even.

Derek noted that the winter oats are beginning to turn in places and this is earlier than usual.

Winter wheat was wrapped up around 10 June with its T3 and oilseed rape is a long way off desiccation, which will happen approximately three weeks before harvest.

Derek is happy with how disease control programmes have worked on his winter cereals so far. Spray timings were kept on top of and didn’t allow disease to develop.

In the four weeks since we spoke last the flowers have come and gone on the Queens potatoes. They are now coming out of flower and beginning to senesce. They received Zorvec Enicade at 0.4L/ha this week for blight control.

The Roosters received Infinito at 1.4l/ha this week. Derek said they are progressing along steadily. There are plenty of new leaves growing on the canopy at the minute.

Derek has not seen any blight in crops yet this year.

Soil moisture levels have been low recently, but 11mm fell over the weekend and more was due during the week which should help crops along.

The onions are starting to bulk up. They received Zorvec Enicade at 0.5l/ha on Monday morning as well as Efficient 28N which is a foliar nitrogen at 20l/ha.

Iain McMordie is very happy with how crops are looking at present.

On Monday, when he spoke to the Irish Farmers Journal, he was looking out at his Isabel spring oats crop which was almost fully headed out. That crop received its final fungicide a week ago. It was Proline at 0.3l/ha and Amistar at 0.5l/ha.

Some virus was visible in his spring oats crop, but in general the flag leaf is very clean.

There is a small bit of downy mildew in the spring beans, but the crop, which received tebuconazole at 0.7l/ha at flowering, will not be sprayed a second time as Iain does not want the crops to remain green for too long as this will delay harvest.

Isabel spring oats heading out with some red leaves showing on Iain's farm.

The application of Falcon on the spring beans has worked well for grass weed control.

Overall rotation is having a positive impact on grass weed control on the farm. Iain has been pulling brome from fields of winter barley and winter wheat – sterile, great and soft brome. However, it is in small enough amounts to rogue. Iain said a mixture of cultural and chemical control is helping to keep these weeds under control and he noted that some fields are clear of grass weeds.

Winter wheat received a T3 fungicide of Prosaro at 0.6l/ha, along with Tucana at 0.5l/ha and magnesium sulphate was added at 5kg/ha.

Iain says some of the winter barley might be ready to cut the week after 12 July, while more of it will be the week after this – weather permitting.

Iain does not usually desiccate his oilseed rape crops.

He grows hybrid varieties with pod shatter resistance. At the minute he does not plan on applying glyphosate to the crop and will allow it to ripen naturally.

Overall Iain is happy with crops. Only a tiny area of oats have fallen in the recent rain, but the majority of crops look like they have a good stand.

Rain at the weekend and early this week probably came at the right time for crops, Dan said, as fields were starting to look a bit dry. However, with the rain comes the risk of crops falling.

A small bit of winter barley is down and spring barley crops are looking good. Some of these crops received a plant growth regulator which should help them stand.

Spring cereals were all treated with fungicides in recent weeks. Spring barley received a T2 of Decoy at 0.4l/ha, Priaxor at 0.8l/ha and Arizona at 1.5l/ha, along with Epso Combitop at 5kg/ha.

Elatus Era was applied to spring oats at 0.8l/ha, along with Epso Combitop at 5kg/ha and spring wheat received Proline at 0.5l/ha and Arizona at 1.5l/ha.

Dan Twomey's sugar beet in Robert's Cove.

The spring wheat is now ready for its T3 fungicide and this will be applied when the weather allows. It will receive Prosaro at 1l/ha and Epso Combitop at 5kg/ha.

The latest sown beet is meeting in the rows and its last herbicide application was Oblix at 0.6l/ha (for grass and broad-leaved weed control), Target (for broad-leaved weeds and annual meadow grass control) at 0.3l/ha, Beetup Flo (broad-leaved weed control) at 1.5l/ha, Centurion Max (for grass weed control) at 0.6l/ha and Toil (oil) at 0.8l/ha.

Overall, Dan is happy with how crops look and are progressing. He expects the first of the winter barley to be ready around 15-16 July, while the two rows will be a few days later. Dan commented that ramularia is in some of his crops this year and the absence of chlorothalonil is evident.

At present the main focus of work is in the yard. Some of last year’s wheat was loaded in recent days and there is some concrete work to be done. Grain stores are being cleared and the combine, baler and dryer are all being prepared for the busy season ahead. combine, baler and drier are all being prepared