Norman Dunne – Kilgraigue, Co Meath

Norman Dunne only finished sowing last Sunday ahead of the forecasted break in the weather, which gave his crops a much-needed drink.

This last crop sown was what Norman called a ‘summer cover’, or a catch crop mix in one slot in his rotation to help the soil.

The mix included many different species to give a variety of root structures to help soil structure and crop productivity.

A few weeks earlier, Norman completed his planting of combi-crop mixes to include barley or oats with peas, and these crops are now emerging

This seed mixture was dressed with his regular treatment of mycorrhizal inoculant, humic acid, seaweed extract, lactic acid bacteria and vermi extract. These are used to stimulate root growth for nutrient uptake. This area of land will be taken out in late summer to go to either winter wheat or winter barley.

A few weeks earlier, Norman completed his planting of combi-crop mixes to include barley or oats with peas, and these crops are now emerging.

He also planted a mix of three barley varieties, with peas. All of these crops received 2.5-3.0t/ac of a humified compost blend prior to planting, plus one 50kg bag per acre of a CAN, kieserite and boron blend.

Crop protection

Since he was last featured, Norman applied a mix of Omex liquid N (80-90 units/ac), molasses (10l/ha), seaweed (2l/ha) and humic (2l/ha) to all his winter wheat and barley. This is all about fertility and health building and no conventional chemistry was used in this treatment.

Last Sunday, he applied fungicide to all his winter wheat area. The treatment involved Revystar and Arizona and there was a lot of consideration given as to whether it was needed or not, as crops were clean.

Around half of the area was treated at 1.5l/ha and 1.4 l/ha respectively and the other half at half those rates.

These recent sprays also included a multi-element product, containing Mn, Mg, Bo, Zn, Co, Mo and iron, about seven units per acre of liquid urea, molasses (2l/ha), seaweed (1l/ha) and humic (1l/ha).

John Crowley – Mallow, Co Cork

The past month has been busy for John Crowley, because with spring planting finished, his attention turned to nitrogen and plant protections. He sold an amount of grain in the past week, old- and new-crop, in response to the spike in prices.

John applied the second of three fungicide applications to winter barley, along with Terpal, as the flag leaves emerged over the past week.

The spring barley planted a few weeks ago is looking good and his Prospect and SY Errigal are now at the 2-3 leaf stage. The recent rain was welcomed by all crops, but now they could do with a spell of milder weather.

All his spring barley has since been top-dressed with nitrogen to bring the total up to 160kg N/ha (130 units/ac).

His Lynx spring beans are now well emerged and at the 2-3-pair of true-leaves stage.

This has been a slow spring, with low temperatures and frost holding back both spring and winter crops. John feels lucky that he suffered no visible damage from frost following spraying over the past month, but he tried to be very selective about when he sprayed. Leaf damage is widespread on crops in the area that were sprayed during the cold spell.

Winter barley is at the flag leaf emerging stage and is looking good. John applied CCC along with Coyote (0.66 l/ha) a few weeks ago and applied Siltra (0.5/ha) as a T2 fungicide in the past week, along with Terpal. Terpal was applied at 1.2l/ha on the two-row varieties and at 1.0l/ha on his six-row KWS Kosmos.

A third fungicide is to be applied as the ears emerge.

Some of his winter wheat received a T1 of Ascra Xpro (1.2 l/ha) at the end of last week, with the rest to be sprayed once the third last leaf is fully emerged. This is all Graham and it had received CCC (2l/ha) three weeks ago.

John’s Huskey winter-sown oats was recently sprayed with Decoy and Comet for disease protection, having been sprayed with Moddus and CCC (0.2l +1.0l/ha) at GS32.

Jonathan Kelly – Limavady, Co Derry

The past few weeks have been more cold than dry for Jonathan Kelly’s crops and a northerly wind continued to sweep down from the sea when I spoke to him earlier this week. He said there was frost on the ground on three separate mornings last week and most crops show signs of tipping. So, heat is the main weather item on his wish list now.

Jonathan Kelly cultivating for and planting forage maize under plastic having ploughed down 10t/ac of chicken litter.

Jonathan has been busy applying various crop protection products over the past few weeks. While all crops were basically clean, his winter barley was sprayed with Fandango (1.0l/ha), Medax Max (0.25kg/ha), Jett manganese (2.0l/ha) and Magphos (2.0 l/ha). These products were applied about two weeks ago around GS32.

His winter wheat received a relatively similar treatment of Fandango (1.0l/ha), Jett manganese (2.0l/ha) and Magphos (2.0 l/ha), again just after GS32, when the third last leaf had emerged towards the end of last week. His winter rye was sprayed with Medax Max (0.3l/ha) and Cello (1.0l/ha) between GS31 and GS32.

Winter rape is very variable due to pigeon grazing, with some of it in strong flower and more of it only coming into flower this week. It received no recent inputs since it was sprayed with Proline (0.6 l/ha) about three weeks ago.

About 60% of Jonathan’s winter crop area was sprayed with Zypar (0.6 l/ha) at the end of last week, due to recurring chickweed.

Spring crops

His Lynx spring beans are now looking good at the 2-3 leaf stage. They were sprayed just after planting with Nirvana (4.5 l/ha).

Jonathan got his Planet spring barley drilled by mid-April. This was sown at 185kg/ha (11.7st/ac), along with two 50kg bags per acre (250kg/ha) of 22:3.5:10 (22:1.5:8.3) in the seedbed. The crops are now up and at the 1-2-leaf stage. All the barley land received 4t/ha of chicken litter prior to planting.

He has about 40ac of maize sown under plastic, with another 60ac still to plant.