Pádraig Connery has completed his cereal harvest for 2022 and is overall very happy with his results. He was planting cover crops at the end of last week ahead of the rain and now awaits his spring beans harvest in the coming weeks.

Pádraig finished harvesting his own winter wheat and spring barley last week, in a combine new to him, and the results were very impressive from these crops after what had been a disappointing start to the harvest with winter barley yields at lower levels than expected.

Some of the winter barley came in at 3t/ac, but on the other side of this Belfry hit 4.2t/ac. Overall though winter barley yield was down.

/ Donal O' Leary

The winter wheat yielded an average of 3.95t/ac at 14% moisture content and a KPH of 75. Moisture levels went as low as 12.9%.

In the spring barley fields Pádraig was delighted with his SY Errigal, which yielded 3.85t/ac. It was planted after a cover crop of leafy turnip and fodder rape which was grazed by sheep and also received pig slurry. The moisture content of this crop was 17%.

The average spring barley yield was 3.6t/ac at 16% moisture content and overall KPH levels ranged from 67 to 72. Pádraig believes the cover crops were definitely affecting yields, adding nutrients back into the ground and improving soil structure.

Pádraig Connery checking the seed distribution while sowing leafy turnip and fodder rape on his farm at Villierstown, Co Waterford on Saturday. / Donal O' Leary

The winter oats hit 3.7t/ac and made their way to Flahavan’s. They were cut at a moisture content of 17% and the top KPH was 57.5.

Straw chopping

Oats, winter wheat and a small bit of spring barley straw was chopped on the farm. Chopping added a good bit to the diesel bill, approximately 6 litres/ac, but Pádraig is glad to be putting organic matter and phosphorus and potassium back into the ground. He made use of the chopper on some of the poorer-performing headlands. Pádraig has a new disc and it is coming in handy this year between straw chopping and planting cover crops. He was planting an eight-way mix at the end of last week which included: tillage radish, fodder radish, mustard, fodder rape, vetch, berseem clover, linseed Apalache, phacelia.

Harvest troubles

Amidst the heat of the harvest Pádraig ran into some trouble with his baler. A bearing went and caused a fire. Water nearby stopped the baler from going on fire, while neighbours loading bales contained the fire in the field and thankfully everyone came out safely. There have been many incidents this harvest as farmers worked in extremely hot conditions.


Chatting to Pádraig as he jumped straight into cultivations after harvest, it was clear he is on top of all of his yields and is constantly examining what worked and did not work on the farm. He is tracking crop progress and recording variety progress. This is key to making improvements on the farm.

The records being kept inform decisions. Varieties are changed or increased in area based on performance and fields which he is not happy with on yield, or parts of fields, are improved with cover crops, grazing animals and straw chopping. Tracking yields also allows cattle and pig slurry to be targeted at certain fields.

Growing crops efficiently is good for economic and environmental sustainability. The cover crops which are good for the soil are helping to cut fertiliser bills and reduce nutrient loss to water. Measuring is key to management.