Difficult weather over the past fortnight has held up progress with planting of spring cereals and potatoes, with farmers in the north-west region most affected.
In the southern and eastern parts of the country, rainfall has been less frequent and has provided farmers with greater windows for carrying out fieldwork.
As a result, spring planting is at more advanced stage. Reports indicate farmers are also well up to date with spraying and fertiliser dressing winter crops.
James Wray farms near Limavady and is battling to complete fieldwork on time. “Spring wheat was drilled in mid-March in good conditions. We have 500 acres of spring barley and 200 acres of potatoes to sow and it is starting to get late.
We always get a weather window at some point in April and a good week can put us back on schedule
“Last year, planting was finishing up around 10 April. When conditions are right, we can sow 100 acres in a day and can quickly catch up on work.
“We always get a weather window at some point in April and a good week can put us back on schedule,” he said.
In contrast, Seaforde farmer Richard Kane finished up sowing spring barley in late March. “We got organic manure applied in late February. Fields were ploughed shortly afterwards, but sowing was delayed until mid-March until the next dry spell. Most of the planting in this area is finished up and winter crop management is also up to date,” he said.
Farming outside Rathfriland, Conor Sheeran had fields ploughed in mid-March, but has had to wait to get spring oats planted.
He expects to have fields drilled by the end of the week.