Proceed with caution

As the end of January draws in tillage farmers are getting itchy feet. If we get a few dry days no doubt some farmers will be out to try get crops in. Harsh conditions including wet seedbeds and cold temperatures will make establishment difficult. Crows will also be on the lookout.

If beans are being planted make sure to sow them at depth. They need to be down 4” to keep the crows away. Some people may shallow plough the seed.

If you’re getting a contractor, beans provide an ideal opportunity to leave out the plough for a season on some farms if you can get a drill to go down deep enough. This could tick a box under ACRES as well if you get into the scheme.

This is all being said with a word of caution. Farmers on very dry ground may get out to fields if rain keeps away, but if ground is not in good condition you should not travel.

Yes, there is a lot of work ahead in the spring time for many, but if we travel on land when it is wet we will do more harm than good for the season and seasons ahead.


When land does dry up there will be plenty of fields of volunteers which need to be sprayed. Remember you cannot apply glyphosate or any herbicide to land which was left as over-winter stubble for birds until 1 February.

Tillage Incentive Scheme

The Tillage Incentive Scheme is going to continue this year. Farmers who till grassland and plant a cereal crop, oilseed rape, maize or beet will receive €400/ha. Anyone who took part in this scheme last year and keeps that land in tillage will receive €200/ha.

Grassland will be hard to come across in the current land rental market but opportunities may arise, and if you are on a mixed farm it might suit in the rotation.

Winter crops

The calendar rules tell us that fertiliser nitrogen and phosphorus can now be spread from 26 January. Crops are not growing at appropriate rates, temperatures are low, rainfall is frequent and there is a big risk that large amounts of that fertiliser will be lost, which is not good for your pocket or the environment.

Fertiliser application should be left until mid-to-late February or March. Get the first split on winter barley before GS30.

If you are able to make it to the field, then herbicide application to control grass weeds should be a top priority where it hasn’t yet been applied.

CAP meeting

The Irish Farmers Journal will hold another CAP Information meeting next Tuesday, 31 January at 7.30pm in the Mullingar Park Hotel. The meeting will detail how the new CAP will affect your payments, and tell you all you need to know about eco-schemes and other income streams.

Pesticides consultation: After all the reminders about the consultation on the Sustainable use of Pesticides Regulations the deadline was extended last Wednesday night from 20 January to 24 February to give people more time to get their submissions to