The intermittent rain showers over the past week haven’t impacted Seamus, as his winter barley grain and straw harvest is now wrapped up.
Like most growers, he cut his winter barley crops in great conditions.
He started his harvest with Craft winter malting barley, where moistures came in at 13.4% and specific weights ranged from 68-69KPH.
Yields were disappointing however, averaging 3.1t/ac.
The crop looked good all year, but Seamus noticed a high amount of late ramularia creep into the crop and he questions if this had an impact. The sample was very clean, with little screenings however, and with a protein level of 8.9%, the crop passed for malting.
Next, he moved on to his Electrum winter barley crop. This variety looked very good all year, so he was surprised when it only averaged 3.5t/ac. Again, moistures were low at 13-14%, with specific weights of around 71KPH. At protein levels of between 8.5-8.8%, the crop passed for malting.
Seamus thinks his own Laureate spring barley crop won’t be ready for another two weeks, while his early-sown Tungsten variety is still a good week away
While grain yields were disappointing, straw yields were excellent. The crops yielded on average 14 4x4 round bales/ac. Seamus said that he had trouble baling this year, as the straw kept slipping in the bale chamber as it was too dry. He had to bale the straw in the middle of the night in most cases. Straw demand is exceptionally high in his area, with 4x4 round bales making €20-€22 from the field.
The spring barley harvest has begun in his area, with good reports so far. He has heard of one Laureate crop yielding 3.7t/ac at 19% moisture. Protein levels were low at 8.8% and specific weights came in at 65kph.
Seamus thinks his own Laureate spring barley crop won’t be ready for another two weeks, while his early-sown Tungsten variety is still a good week away.
His beet crops have turned a shade of yellow, most likely due to moisture stress. This week, he will apply liquid nitrogen, trace elements and a fungicide to the crop.
The 15mm of rain that fell last week on Michael’s farm was welcomed, as his potato ground was getting dry. He says he missed a lot of the thunder showers that were in the area last week, which would have damaged crops.
While the rain was welcomed, Michael says he has had enough moisture and like all tillage farmers, hopes the settled weather will return soon.
He cut his winter barley two weeks ago with the help of contractor Liam Kelly. The crop was cut during the hot weather and came in very quick, he explains. Grain moistures were low, at around 15%. Michael says that, as you don’t get any low moisture bonuses, harvesting grain at low moisture isn’t of much benefit to growers who deliver directly to merchants.
The crop yielded 3.3t/ac and he says that poor areas of fields, such as headlands and areas that suffered crow damage, brought the field average down. His straw was easy to bale and clear, he says, with the crop yielding 11 4x4 round bales/ac. He intends to burn off the headlands, as they are getting messy with weeds.
Michael’s spring barley crops are looking very good, however he noticed some patches beginning to lodge. He thinks the harvest is still three weeks or so away. The last of his later-sown potatoes are flowering and developing fast. Michael harvested a small amount of Queens last week, but tuber size was small.
Michael is about to make second-cut silage
He will harvest a few boxes each week whenever he needs them. Blight pressure has increased with the arrival of rain. During the dry weather, he increased his spray intervals to 10 days, but has since pulled it back to seven days. Potato demand dropped off during the hot weather but has since picked up again.
Michael is about to make second-cut silage. The crop will be baled and he hopes to have this done before the harvest recommences.
When talking to Brendan this week, he was down to his last 40ac of winter oats. The weather in Ardee this week has been cloudy. Mist and dew have been slow to lift in the morning. This is making the harvest days for oats very short when compared to two weeks ago, when Brendan harvested his winter barley.
The winter barley harvest was completed in seven days with no interruption. Overall, he is happy with the performance of his winter barley crops, averaging 4t/ac. Moistures were excellent, coming in at between 13%-15%.
Straw yields were also excellent and he is now sold out due to very high demand
He says that his six-row hybrid varieties Belfry and Bazooka did particularly well, but his two-row variety LG Castings also had a respectable yield. The grain was brought straight to his stores where it is being aerated.
Brendan says that it was just the right year for winter barley in the northeast, as there are similar reports of crop performance in the area.
Straw yields were also excellent and he is now sold out due to very high demand.
His winter oat harvest has been much more staggered due to the weather, but yields are still good. So far, the crop is ranging from 3.6t/ac to 3.9t/ac at between 17-18% moisture.
Brendan is chopping and incorporating his oat straw this year under the Straw Incorporation Measure.
All of the wheaten straw will be baled, with around half going for feed and the other half going for compost
He has also made a start to winter oilseed rape, which is coming in between 18.t/ac to 2t/ac at 10% moisture. His winter wheat crops are still another 10 days away, but are coming along well.
All of the wheaten straw will be baled, with around half going for feed and the other half going for compost.
His spring barley crops have lodged in pockets, but in general are looking very good.
The 18mm of rain that fell last week were all needed by his potato crops, Brendan remarks. Blight pressure has increased in the area, but he intends to move to a 10-day spray interval by using Zorvec in his programme.