Tim Ronaldson

Naas, Kildare

The 241mm of rain which fell on Tim’s farm during January and February left its mark. Ground has been slow to dry out, he says, and really only became workable in the past 10 days.

He did manage to get beans sown at the start of March on his driest ground, however.

He found it hard to get certain bean varieties this year and ended up sowing Fanfare. After ploughing the ground, he broadcast 360kg/ha of 0:19:16 plus calcium and sulphur on to the furrows.

Tim ploughing ahead of sowing spring barley this week.

With a TGW of 600g, the crop was then drilled at a rate of 250kg/ha.

Tim sowed the crops using a Claydon drill and a 4m Lemken Solitair 8 drill on demonstration. The crops received a herbicide of Nirvana (3.6l/ha) and Centium (0.18l/ha) after rolling.

Spring cereal sowing began on Saturday and continues at pace. This year he is sowing SY Errigal and SY Arderin spring barley at 160kg/ha. These crops are destined for feed.

He applied 390kg/ha of 10:10:20 on to ploughed ground before drilling. He also applied layers manure on to some of the stubble fields before cultivating and direct drilling.

With the weather set to turn unsettled, he doesn’t think he will be able to complete sowing by the end of the week.

Some winter crops came under pressure due to wet weather over winter and were beginning to go backwards, says Tim. However, settled conditions over the past 10 days have helped them recover.

All crops have now received their compound fertiliser.

His Cassia, Belfry and Valerie winter barley received 460kg/ha of 10:7:25 plus sulphur in late February. He aims to apply the rest of the nitrogen at the end of the month.

His Costello, Graham and Conros winter wheat also received 330-450 kg/ha of either 10:7:25 or 9:7:24 while his Isabel winter oats received 440kg/ha of 9:7:24 plus sulphur.


Tim has had many enquiries for straw over the past month but most of his remaining supply is accounted for. He says that based on his current demand, it is unlikely that he will chop much straw this year.

Thomas Lonergan

Cahir, Tipperary

Thomas was able to sow 40ac of spring barley two weeks ago, which has helped take the pressure off, he explains.

Spring sowing is going well and is on track to be complete at the end of this week. While there have been limited amounts of sunshine, ground conditions are very good.

Thomas sowing Gangway spring barley in excellent conditions.

This year he is sowing Gangway spring barley with around 80% of it destined for malting barley. The seed had a TGW of 51g so he was sowing at a rate of 170kg/ac.

He ploughs using a five-furrow Kverneland plough on no. 28 boards. The ground is disced using 5m HEVA discs before broadcasting 370 kg/ha of either 10:10:20 or 13:6:20. He then drills using a 3m Kuhn one-pass and rolls a 6.5m HEVA ring roller.

Crops are being drilled in great conditions this year and when the tramlines are visible, he will apply 112 kg N/ha to bring the crop to 150kg N/ha.

Winter crops

All autumn-sown crops have come through the winter in good condition. His winter crops received an application of either 10:10:20 or 13:6:20 compound fertiliser in mid-February.

His Belfry, Cassia and Joyau winter barley crops have now been brought up to 143kg N/ha.

His Husky winter oats has been brought to 50kg N/ha, his Trebiano hybrid rye to 125kg N/ha and his Costello winter wheat to 50kg N/ha.

Thomas also applied 123kg/ha of potash in February in every field. He says that, as all straw is baled and removed, they need to apply extra potash to keep levels up. He noted that he now rarely sees brackling in his crops.

All winter crops received an autumn herbicide and, with the exception of some of the winter barley and rye, won’t need a follow-up herbicide this spring.

His winter barley also received CCC (1l/ha) and, where necessary, Axial (0.5l/ha) earlier this month.

Thomas is interested in chopping some of his winter oat straw this year but will give it more thought before signing up to the scheme.

James Robinson

Newtowncunningham, Donegal

Any fields exposed to the breeze over the past 10 days have dried well, says James. However, sheltered ground has been slow to dry this year, and is only suitable to plough.

Despite this, he is still further ahead in terms of spring work when compared to last year.

He began sowing Splender spring malting barley on Saturday last. The fields were ploughed at the end of February and were grubbed and levelled in mid-March.

James’s contractor Neville Rodgers & Sons sowing Splender spring malting barley on Saturday last.

Before drilling, he applied 370kg/ha of 10:10:20 as well as a 185kg/ha of granular lime.

While his compound contained no sulphur, James says this will be applied along with nitrogen when the tramlines are visible. He plans to bring the malting crop up top 112kg N/ha.

The crop was sown at between 180-190kg/ha. This is his second year growing malting barley and it all passed for distilling last year.

He plans to wait until the crop is at the two to three leaf stage before rolling. He still has a small amount of spring barley left to sow but has opted to hold off for now as ground conditions aren’t right.

Winter barley

James’s winter barley crops are looking good. They have tillered well and have come through the winter in good condition.

He applied manganese and zinc in October and thinks this has greatly helped them. He wasn’t able to secure Carnival this year due to seed availability. Instead he is growing Tower and Patriot.

The crops received their compound fertiliser on 26 February. This year he decided to apply 370kg/ha of a new compound, 9:10:25 from Gouldings instead of his usual 10:10:20 as it worked out more competitive for him.

He also applied a maintenance lime dressing of 185kg/ha of Grolime. The crops received 185kg/ha of urea plus sulphur on 17 March, bringing them to 112kg N/ha.

James applied an autumn herbicide of Navigate (0.3l/ha) and DFF (0.1l/ha). Control was excellent and they won’t need a follow up application.