There has been little rain in Meath over the past month, says Norman. As a result, ground conditions remain excellent.
The milder-than-average soil temperatures have also been excellent for growth and Norman was able to sow autumn cover crop mixes up until last week.
He decided to lightly cultivate the ground before broadcasting a mix of mustard, phacelia, tillage radish, linseed and a few others and rolling. Some of the seed has already germinated, he explains.
When talking to him this week, he was in the middle of dressing home-saved seed.
He plans to sow winter barley after spring beans and winter wheat after spring oats or into a flailed summer cover crop
All going well, he will start sowing cereals this week.
He plans to sow winter barley after spring beans and winter wheat after spring oats or into a flailed summer cover crop. All crops will be direct-drilled.
Winter oilseed rape
He decided to sow winter oilseed rape on the farm for the first this time this year. The crop was drilled at a rate of 7.5kg/ha along with a combi-crop of Austrian winter peas at a rate of 140kg/ha.
He also added buckwheat and vetch into the mix which will be killed off during the first hard frost. He says that peas and oilseed can be easily separated after harvest. The crop was drilled, rolled and won’t require an autumn herbicide.
Harvest wrapped up
The harvest is now wrapped up on his farm. He finished his spring bean harvest last week and was delighted with its performance, averaging 2.2t/ac at 18% moisture. Elsewhere, his winter wheat yielded an excellent 4t/ac at 16% moisture while his spring barley crops yielded between 3.0t/ac and 3.3t/ac. This is one of his highest-yielding years to date.
Norman has been selected as an ambassador in the Farming for Nature Awards
His spring oats yielded between 2.8t/ac and 3.0t/ac at 18% moisture content while his spring beans yielded 2.7t/ac at 17% moisture. He chopped his wheat and oat straw under the Straw Incorporation Measure.
Norman has been selected as an ambassador in the Farming for Nature Awards and is through the final of the competition. Voting for the competition closes on 23 October.
Ground is drying out well in Mallow after a number of showers slowed down field work last week.
Conditions have been mild and regrowth was strong so John made sure to spray off stubbles in a timely manner before starting to plough.
Since talking to him last, he has been busy completing field work such as spreading slurry and lime. He spread over 1,000t of lime this year due to good ground conditions.
The lime was tipped directly into the field and spread by a contractor.
He has around 4ac of spring beans left to harvest. The rest of the crop yielded 2.5t/ac at 17% and he chopped the straw.
Overall, John says he is happy with how the harvest went this year, helped by good weather and yields.
He began ploughing for winter crops two weeks ago but had to stop last week due to sticky conditions. He ploughs with two seven-furrow Kverneland ploughs on no. 28 boards.
Going well he can cover over 70ac per day and he should be finished by the start of next week.
John will start sowing around the start of October with winter barley
He ploughs ahead to ensure he has a clear run at sowing time. He sows using his two 4m Kuhn drills and can cover over 100ac per day.
John will start sowing around the start of October with winter barley. This year he is sowing Cassia, Infinity, Tardis and Cosmos. He says that, as he is farming continuous cereals, hybrid varieties are of little benefit to him. Next he will move on to sowing Graham winter wheat before finishing with Husky winter oats.
Winter oilseed rape
He decided to plant 80ac of DK Expansion winter oilseed rape this year at a rate of 2.7kg/ha.
He was considering sowing spring beans again but thinks winter oilseed rape suits his system better. Drilling conditions were excellent this year, he says.
Like many farmers, John is concerned about the rising costs of inputs next year, from fertiliser to machinery.
Seamus describes the weather in Laois as being perfect over the past few weeks. Ground conditions are ideal for field work including ploughing.
He farms close to the site of last week’s National Ploughing Championship and was happy to lend a hand judging for two days.
“Normally we’d be under pressure during the ploughing but the good weather has spread the workload considerably this year,” he said.
He has been busy cleaning up stubbles ahead of ploughing for winter cereals.
Regrowth of volunteers and grassweeds has been particularly strong this year and he even noticed some volunteer beet emerge in winter cereal stubble.
He is spreading the last of his slurry on his grassland and stubble.
He is also sowing grass seeds for neighbours who are either reseeding or sowing out stubble. He says there has been a notable increase in grass seeding in his area over the past few years.
Seamus fitted new shares and points on his plough and aims to make a start this week.
He said he is afraid to plough too far ahead of himself in case the weather breaks. He will likely begin sowing winter cereals by the weekend for a neighbour but won’t start his own until next week.
Seamus says that Craft is reliable, Electrum did well last year as did Vessel which is also acceptable for Waterford Distilleries
He is aiming to sow winter malting barley again this year. He has decided to grow the varieties Vessel, Craft and Electrum and has the seed ordered.
Seamus says that Craft is reliable, Electrum did well last year as did Vessel which is also acceptable for Waterford Distilleries.
He hopes that Boortmalt will offer growers the chance to forward-sell 20% of their malting barley contracts at the current Fob Creil malting barley price, which stands at around €280/t.
He is concerned at the rising input prices for 2022 and argues that they will have to come back or farmers could go out of business. Seamus will soon begin lifting some early fodder beet for customers. More on this next month.