The weather in Clare over the past few weeks has made spring crop drilling tricky. When talking to Shane this week he still had 28ac of spring barley left to sow. The weather has been very broken in the west this spring, with few recent opportunities to get work done. Despite the frosty nights, crops and grass are still growing however.

Shane’s spring oats are coming along well.

Shane’s earlier sown spring barley and oat crops have emerged and are developing well. He began sowing spring oats on 19 March in good conditions. The crop was drilled at 203kg/ha using a 3m Vaderstad Rapid 300s drill. He generally ploughs and makes the ground ready with discs. This year he bought a Kivi Pekka, a trailed stone picker that can be used to gather stones from fields. The machine is very effective at removing stones before drilling and he intends on doing contracting work with it as well.

Shane’s spring oats received 370kg of 18:6:12 as well as 62kg/ha of potash. The crops haven’t received an application of nitrogen yet as ground conditions have been too poor.

Spring barley

His spring barley crops are coming along well. They were sown soon after his oats at a rate of 173kg/ha. The crops will receive 370kg/ha of 10:10:20 in the coming days. Shane has around two days’ worth of cultivating and sowing left to do and hopes to get this completed by the weekend as soon as the weather settles down.

His winter barley crops are looking very well, he says. The crops received 370kg of 18:6:12 as well as 62kg/ha of potash a few weeks ago and have responded very well. He aims to bring the crops up to 168-175kg N/ha. The crops will receive a T1 fungicide and trace elements before the weekend.

Shane is in no rush to drill his fodder beet, he explains. He says conditions need to be warm at the time of drilling so the crops face no setbacks when emerging.

While it has been a very good spring for getting field work done in Wicklow, cold and harsh weather has slowed the development of winter crops, says Stuart. The return of kinder weather, however, has helped spring crops establish and winter crops develop, he adds.

Sowing began at the end of January with spring beans. The crop was direct drilled into standing cover crops at a rate of 300kg/ha. The cover crops, consisting of either oats and phacelia or kale, were sprayed off just before the beans emerged. The beans are now at the three- to four-leaf stage and are looking good.

Spring cereal sowing began on 17 March. This year he is growing Planet for malting, Gangway for roasting and Geraldine for seed.

Stuart applying a T1 on winter wheat.

Most of his spring barley ground received chicken dung before drilling. Stuart says this will deliver 62-75kg N/ha and all of the crop’s planned P and K requirements. His spring barley seed crop, however, received Agrifos incinerated chicken dung. The crops will be brought up to 150kg N/ha and are due to receive a herbicide spray of Tribe (10g/ha) and Universe (0.7l/ha). He will also add Trikelp (150g/ha) into the tank. His Isobel spring oats, which were sown at 160kg/ha also received the same organic manures.

Winter crops

There is some BYDV in Stuart’s winter barley crops, particularly the variety Joyau. The flag leaf is just peeping and will be due a T1 soon. Most of the crops were brought up to 187kg N/ha. However, this year he trialled melted urea along with fish hydrate, kelp and fulvic acid on one crop which now stands at 120kg N/ha.

The third last leaf on his Conros, Graham and Costello winter wheat crops are just emerging so they will receive a T1 this week. There is plenty of septoria in the lower leaves but no signs of rust. The crops currently stand at 150kg N/ha. Stuart’s Isobel winter oats currently stand at 125kg N/ha. His winter oilseed rape is looking good and has received just 71kg N/ha.

The return of softer weather in Tipperary has been welcomed, says James. Since March, there has been a lot of frost at night which has slowed crop development, particularly winter barley. However, field conditions have been excellent for getting field work done and recent rainfall has helped green crops up, he says.

James sprayed off cover crops in January ahead of spring drilling. The fields were cultivated in February and his spring barley crops were sown at the end of March. He sowed the malting variety Planet at 180kg/ha. James broadcast 370kg/ha of 10.5.25 on to the ground before drilling and has now brought the crop up to 150kg N/ha. He intends to apply a herbicide at the end of the week and will also assess aphid pressure.

Winter barley

His hybrid winter barley varieties, Belfry and Bazooka, are looking better after recent rain. A combination of cold, harsh weather and PGRs have held them back, James says. The crops now stand at 200kg/ha and have also received a T1 of Decoy (0.4l/ha), Comet (0.5l/ha) as well as the growth regulator Moddus (0.2l/ha). The flag leaf is just emerging and the crop will soon be due its T2 by the weekend. He generally uses a three-spray fungicide programme on winter barley.

James spraying his winter oilseed rape this week.

The third-last leaf on his Graham winter wheat is 50% emerged and will soon be due a T1 consisting of Peacoq (2l/ha), Pontoon (1l/ha) and Arizona (1.5l/ha). The crop is currently at around 156kg N/ha. His Husky winter oat crops have this week received their second PGR of Moddus (0.2l/ha) and CCC (1/ha) as well as Decoy (0.4l/ha), Comet (0.5l/ha) and trace elements.

His winter rye is coming along well and is a healthy green colour. Last week the crop received a T1 of Decoy (0.4l/ha), Comet (0.5l/ha) as well as Moddus (0.2/ha). The crop is up to 162kg N/ha.

Finally James’s winter oilseed rape is currently mid- flower. This year he is considering two fungicides while in flower to protect the crop’s yield potential. He aims to apply Filan at 0.4kg/ha this week.