Jonathan Kelly

Limavady, Derry

While snowfall amounts this week have been minimal, conditions have been far from ideal in Derry, says Jonathan. The return of cold, wet weather means conditions were only fit for finishing the last of this spring’s draining.

Jonathan sowing Lynx beans this week.

He was able to get some sowing done between the snow showers, however. Earlier this week he sowed Lynx spring beans at 240kg/ha. The field had been extensively drained so was in reasonable condition when he ploughed it. The field was ploughed, power-harrowed and drilled using his Lemken Solitaire 9 3m one-pass drill. The field will be rolled when conditions improve. He is planning on applying the herbicide Nirvana (4.5l/ha) as soon as he can. This is his first year growing beans due to the new pilot Protein Crops Payment Scheme in Northern Ireland.

He has around 70ac of Planet spring barley to drill. Jonathan isn’t worried just yet about timeliness of sowing the crop as April drilling of spring cereals is common in the northwest. He also has over 100ac of maize to sow.

Winter crops doing well

He is very happy with the progress of his winter crops, which have come through the winter in good condition with the exception of 25ac of oilseed rape (OSR) which was badly grazed by pigeons. The crop is now well behind the rest of his OSR, which is in flower. His OSR crops were brought up to 150kg N/ha and also received chicken dung last autumn. They also received an application of Proline (0.5l/ha) and Boron (2.8l/ha) at the weekend.

He is also very happy with the progress of his hybrid winter rye

His winter barley crops will be due their T1 fungicide of Fandango by the end of this week. They have been brought to 125kg N/ha. His winter wheat is sitting at around 87kg N/ha.

He is also very happy with the progress of his hybrid winter rye. The crop received 2,000gal/ac of digestate in February which has really stood to it he explains.

It is due a PGR and fungicide very soon as it was among the first crops sown last autumn.

Norman Dunne

Kilgraigue, Meath

Norman farms on heavier ground on the Meath-Kildare border. Despite contending with some snow showers earlier this week, little rain has fallen over the past two weeks, meaning ground is now in good order.

Norman Dunne direct drills into standing cover crops using his John Deere 750A drill.

He sowed his Boxer spring bean crop at the beginning of March at a rate of 200kg/ha. He dressed the seeding using a homemade dressing of humic acid, seaweed, lactic acid bacteria, vermi-extract and a number of other ingredients. He says this homemade dressing helps the crop get off to the best start by improving the interactions between seed and soil biology.

The crop was drilled directly into a cover crop using his John Deere 750A drill. The cover crop was sprayed off 15 days later using glyphosate (1.5l/ha). He added 120g/ha of fulvic acid and 30g/ha of citric acid into the tank to improve crop uptake of glyphosate, reducing the required rate of the active.

Next he will move on to sowing his spring oat and pea combi-crop

He started sowing Talisker and Cochise spring wheat this week at 200kg/ha into a standing cover crop. This is his first time to grow spring wheat and he thinks it will fit in well with certain rotations.

Next he will move on to sowing his spring oat and pea combi-crop. These pea and oat crops will be sown, grown, harvested and sold together. He is growing the crop for feed and is seeing the market for this mix grow. Lower weed pressure is among the benefits of growing the crops together. He also intends on growing a spring barley and pea combi-crop this year.

He plans on growing a three-way spring barley crop consisting of the varieties Planet, SY Errigal and Gangway as well.

Winter crop treatments

His winter barley and wheat crops are looking good and have recently received around 62kg N/ha along with Kieserite and Boron. He is growing Cassia and Carnival winter barley which recently received an application of Trinity (0.3l/ha), Modem (0.66l/ha) Manipulator (0.98l/ha) as well as seaweed, humic acid and molasses.

His three-way variety mix of winter wheat has also received CeCeCe (1.8l/ha) as well as seaweed, humic acid and molasses.

John Crowley

Mallow, Cork

While things have turned cold in Cork, spring sowing conditions have been very good explains John. He finished sowing spring barley this week, taking three days to sow the varieties SY Errigal and Prospect. John ploughed the ground in advance before power-harrowing and drilling with his 4m Kuhn one-pass drill with Suffolk coulters.

John filling his spreader with 13:6:20 to spread ahead of sowing spring barley.

Before drilling he broadcast an application of 13:6:20 on to the seedbed. The fertiliser is bought in bulk and transported to the field via lorry. He uses a cross auger driven by the tractor to load the fertiliser into his Bredal 6t spreader. The auger loads at a rate of 1t/minute. The barley was drilled at 172kg/ha and he generally sows the headlands separately after grubbing to alleviate compaction. After sowing he rolls using an 8m Heva ring roller.

He sowed his spring beans at the start of March. This year he is growing Lynx, which was drilled at a rate of 200kg/ha. It as sown with 247 kg/ha of 0:7:30 and the ground also received 2,000gal/ac of pig slurry. After sowing he applied the herbicide Nirvana at 4.5l/ha and the crop has now emerged.

Winter crops

He is happy with his winter crops. Around half of his winter barley received its T1 fungicide of Coyote (0.66l/ha). Some of these crops have yet to receive a PGR. This year he is growing Cassia, Infinity, Valarie and Cosmos.

On 18 March, his Graham winter wheat crops received Alister Flex (1l/ha) and are nearly due a T0 fungicide. He will add Cycocel to the tank when applying the first fungicide. The crop is standing at 162kg N/ha and will be brought to 225kg N/ha in two weeks.

The crop was brought up to 62kg N/ha and will be topped out at 125kg N/ha this week

His winter oats are looking reasonably good. Last week they received an application of Cameo Max (60g/ha), Hurler (0.75l/ha), Ceraide (1.2l/ha), Proline (0.4l/ha), Comet (0.4l/ha) and Mancozeb (1l/ha). The crop was brought up to 62kg N/ha and will be topped out at 125kg N/ha this week.

Spring sowing has come to an end on John’s farm and now the attention turns to servicing his square baler in preparation for harvest 2021.