Durrow, Co Laois
Seamus Duggan was delighted to be looking out at nice, soft rain continuing to fall when I spoke to him earlier this week.
Up to Monday at midnight, he had only received 33mm since 15 April, so every drop was precious.
It was coming at a critical time to help maintain the potential that was already evident in crops, as they began to look just a little stressed.
Still to complete his BPS application, Seamus explained his dilemma over straw chopping. He wants to chop some straw for the new straw incorporation measure, but local demand is strong. He said he has already sold most of his straw to existing and new customers, and he now intends to chop the balance.
Seamus completed planting his fodder beet shortly after his last article. This was mainly the variety Enermax, with a bit of Magnum. The beet is only just coming up now and the moisture and warmer conditions should set it up for a good full crop.
He sprayed his winter barley on 19 April with a combination of Decoy (0.6l/ha), Comet (0.6l/ha), Moddus (0.15l/ha) and a trace element mix.
Seamus’s most advanced spring barley is now at GS30/31
His two varieties, Craft and Electrum, are chalk and cheese at the moment, with the Craft having been held back by the cold conditions and only just at flag leaf emerged, while the Electrum is now awning out. The latter variety is also much taller and was sprayed with Terpal growth regulator (0.75l/ha) last Friday.
The crops remain clean and the next fungicide will likely be the final one on the Electrum. The Craft looks to have further to go and a decision on a stop-gap fungicide will be made later this week.
Seamus’s most advanced spring barley is now at GS30/31. He hopes to spray this for weeds using Empire Supreme (40-50g/ha) plus Cleave (1l/ha) later this week and he may or may not include a fungicide. Seamus said he is unlikely to include an aphicide.
Ardee, Co Louth
When I spoke to Brendan Lynch earlier this week, he was relieved to have finished planting potatoes before the rain came last weekend. It is always a relief to be finished, but the recent rain and the return to warmer temperatures were also very welcome.
Brendan had made the decision to hold off on planting until around the third week in April, as the ground had been too cold up to then. The crop planted was mainly Rooster and the seed was all treated with Maxim 100 FS.
The crops were fertilised on a field-by-field basis, but Brendan said that most of his potatoes finished up at between 80kg and 100kg N/ha (65 and 80 units/ac).
Happy with crops
Brendan is happy with his winter crops so far. They have remained largely free of disease, but there was some leaf damage arising directly and indirectly from the recent cold conditions.
Fungicide and growth regulator were applied to his winter wheat and oats in recent weeks.
The prolonged dry spell enabled good application timing when the third last leaf was fully emerged
There have been no further treatments to winter barley or winter oilseed rape. The rape, now in full flower, has a very manageable canopy height.
Winter wheat was sprayed in the last week of April with Revystar XL at between 1.3 and 1.35l/ha, depending on sowing date and variety, and CCC (75%) at 0.6l/ha.
Two fields of Graham also received Globaztar SC (azoxystrobin) at 0.5l/ha. The prolonged dry spell enabled good application timing when the third last leaf was fully emerged.
The winter oats were sprayed on 22 April. The fungicides used were Ceratavo Plus (0.75l/ha) and Flexity (0.25l/ha). Added to this spray was Ceraide at 1.0l/ha to help shorten and strengthen the stems.
Brendan’s Planet spring barley is now at the 2- to 3-leaf stage. This crop has already received a top dressing of 50kg N/ha (40 units/ac) and it will receive a further 35kg N/ha (27 units/ac) soon.
Athenry, Co Galway
For Michael Kennedy, farming around Athenry, the lack of moisture experienced across most of the country was not a major concern.
Indeed, it was an opportunity to get work done in good conditions, but this has once again become tricky in terms of getting the last of the potatoes planted in showery weather.
His local Met weather station in Athenry showed 44.5mm since the start of May and Michael’s Sencrop station on his own farm recorded 41.4mm since then.
So, what may have been dry has become wet again and Michael recorded 59.8mm since 15 April.
He still has 15ac of potatoes to plant, but he is not worried about this yet. He supplies washed potatoes to local shops and is still very busy with this.
The major variety in demand continues to be Rooster, but Michael said that there is currently a strong demand for Records also.
He is growing Queens, Records and Roosters this year, but is noticing a change in the demand level for different varieties.
His Husky spring oats were also top-dressed with Replenish fertiliser
Michael finished planting spring barley shortly after mid-April. RGT Planet is his main variety, but he also planted some SY Arderin. The earlier-sown crops are now up well, but the last sown crops are only just emerging.
The early crops received 370kg/ha (3 x 50kg/ac) of CAN + S (100kg N/ha or 80 units/ac), but the later sown crops have not yet been top-dressed.
His Husky spring oats were also top-dressed with Replenish fertiliser. This is a compound fertiliser (18:2.5:14 + 2S) dressed with WolfTrax trace elements, which supplies magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc, as well as the N:P:K.
This was only applied to the oats at 310kg/ha (2.5 x 50kg bags/ac) on top of the seedbed fertiliser.
Michael’s winter barley has not had any inputs since his last report, but it is now due a fungicide application.
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