It’s been a busy month in Downpatrick, says Iain. Dry weather meant field work could be completed in great conditions. Earlier in the month, he top-dressed his Kingsbarn, Idyllic and Mountain winter barley with 67kg N/ha plus sulphur. He says the crops are all looking well and are due to receive CCC (1l/ha) and Moddus (0.15l/ha) as soon as temperatures increase. He also plans to apply spread another 30kg N/ha of liquid urea shortly. His Extase winter wheat has been growing all winter. The crop received 67kg N/ha plus sulphur early in March.

Iain’s spring beans emerging this week

The crop has remained clean so it won’t get a T0 fungicide he explains. His Graham and Costello were slower to develop but are both coming on well now. He will keep a close eye on them to see if they will need a T0.

His DK Exalte winter oilseed rape is coming out of pigeon damage and the flower buds are now visible. The crop received 67kg N/ha plus sulphur so far.

Spring crops

Iain started to plant Tiffany spring beans at 250kg/ha with his Claydon drill on 7 March. He says the first of the fields were just about dry enough to drill. He finished planting on 25 March. The crops received a pre-emergence herbicide of Stomp at 2.5l/ha, Centium at 0.25 l/ha and Defy at 2l/ha. All fields had soil samples taken in January which guided his lime, P and K applications. The earlier-sown crops are just emerging now.

His Isobel spring oats were drilled from 26-29 March at 165kg/ha in dry and dusty conditions and rolled a day after. Around 44kg N/ha plus sulphur was applied before drilling and disced. He applied K and lime where needed. He also drilled some Isobel spring oats for seed at the start of April.

Iain says ground trafficability was very good this spring. He was even able to install a drain in one field in January with little issue.

Like in many areas, the weather over the past few weeks in Cork has been excellent, with little rainfall and good drying. While growth was good at the start of the settled spell, things did turn colder last week, says Daniel. This meant it has been difficult to get spraying done but it’s been perfect for spring sowing.

Daniel sowing spring barley in Roberts Cove last week

This year he is growing Tardis, Kosmos, Pixel and Infinity winter barley. He says the Tardis crop is further ahead than the rest but it was planted earlier. They soil-sampled all of the fields in January which has helped guide their fertiliser strategy this season. Depending on the soil results, the crops got between 370-430 kg/ha of 12:7:22 or in some cases no P or K at all. Some fields received adequate P and K last autumn. All of his winter barley crops have been brought up to 130kg N/ha so far. Daniel intends to bring them up to 200kg N/ha in the next 10 days.

He hasn’t sprayed the crops yet due to the cold weather but plans to apply a growth regulator, fungicide and wild oat spray in the coming week.

Spring work

Spring sowing began around 20 March and they were 95% through when talking to him this week. Much of the ploughing was done earlier in the year. Daniel ploughs with an eight-furrow Kverneland plough. The ploughed ground is cultivated with a 6m Lemken Kround tine harrow before drilling with a 4m Lemken Solitaire 9 drill. Depending on the soil and crop type, he broadcasts between 370-430 kg/ha of 12:7:22 before drilling. This year Daniel is growing Isobel spring oats, Duncan spring wheat and Planet, Laureate and Geraldine spring barley. The crops were drilled at 172kg/ha and rolled with a 10.2m Cambridge roller after.

He also rolled the last of his winter crops in early March.

Daniel aims to start drilling beet by the weekend which should take around four days to complete, weather permitting.

With little to no rain since 15 March, it has been a great few weeks for getting work done, says Derek. Calm conditions earlier in March were perfect for applying fertiliser and ground dried quickly when ploughed.

His winter crops are looking full and healthy. This year he is growing Cassia, Valerie and Tardis winter barleys.

Derek’s Valerie crops are a little more advanced than the rest. The crops received around 435kg/ha of the CCF product 9.5:7.4:25+S, which comes as a blended granule. The crops received a further 75kg N/ha of urea+S and will receive another 87-100kg N/ha by the end of the week.

The crops received a PGR of K2 (0.8l/ha) last week as well as the trace element spray Hu-man (1.5l/ha).

Winter wheat

This year Derek is growing Graham, Gleam and Bennington winter wheat. He noted some yellow rust in the Bennington crop in early March which was treated with Comet at 0.4l/ha. The crops received a similar compound to the winter barley and most fields were brought up to 125kg N/ha. The crops are ready for a PGR this week and will also be treated for wild oats.

Derek finished planting onions this week.

His Husky winter oats received 435kg/ha of 9.5:7.4:25+S earlier in spring and have also been brought up to 125kg N/ha. The crops are due to receive a PGR and mildewcide this week.

His winter oilseed rape fertiliser programme is now complete. The crops received 370kg/ha of 10:10:20 as well as 50-87kg N/ha. Derek increased nitrogen rates on patches which were thin or suffered heavier grazing over winter. The crops now sit at between 130-168kg N/ha and some were also topped up with additional K.

The crop was recently sprayed with Fezan (0.8l/ha) for its PGR effects as well as Proline (0.4l/ha) for light leaf spot, Korvetto (0.8l/ha) to knock out some thistles and Boron (2.5l/ha). Derek is around 25% through with potato planting and has completed onion planting. More on this next week.