The last of the spring cereal planting work on contract was completed on 10 May, and Conall is now busy cutting silage and spraying crops.

The gates are now closed on the winter barley. The final spray consisted of Proline at 0.45l/ha, Serpent at 0.85l/ha, folpet at 1.5l/ha, and 3kg/ha of foliar potassium. Conall says the crop remains quite strong, looks good and strong, and he hopes that the high potential of the crop translates into a good yield.

The last spray has also been applied to the winter oats this week. It received Protendo Extra at 0.8l/ha and 3kg/ha of foliar potassium. Conall hopes this potassium can help to improve the hectolitre weight of the oats and to strengthen the straw to help prevent the crop from lodging. The crop looks fairly good considering the poor weather it has got since sowing, so Conall is hopeful of a good yield.

The spring beans are growing strongly in the recent warm and wet weather.


There is a good plant stand and they are now beginning to flower, so Conall is applying the first fungicide to the beans this week. They are receiving 0.66l/ha of Elatus Era and 5kg/ha of Combitop. He hopes that this spray can help to control chocolate spot and rust. The spring barley has also done well since planting. Conall has applied a herbicide and plant growth regulator to most of the barley in the past week. This spray contained Calibre Max SX at 115g/ha, Hurler at 0.75l/ha, CeCeCe 750 at 1l/ha, and Mancozin at 0.7l/ha. The first fungicide will also be applied shortly to the barley during tillering.

Conall also applied a herbicide and aphicide to his spring oats last weekend. The oats have established well and are growing strongly in the past couple of weeks, and a growth regulator will be required soon.

Three months work has been done in the past three weeks in Derry between drilling, spreading fertiliser, spraying, and cutting silage. The first cut of silage yielded 6t/ac on 1 May, a very impressive yield considering it only received a small amount of nitrogen.

Alistair finished planting spring crops two weeks ago. Forty acres of spring beans were direct drilled, with 10ac of this patched into fields where winter crops failed. He also planted 15ac of maize for the first time ever. He did this through minimum tillage with his own drill. He planted companion crops of runner beans, field beans, and sunflowers with the maize. It then received a pre-emergence herbicide of Stomp Aqua. Alistair says that the low cost of the crop, with no plastic or ploughing, means he would be delighted with 12 to 14t/ac.

The winter rye with companions on Alistair's farm.

The winter oilseed rape on the farm looks really good. It is very thick and 182cms high. He applied milk, molasses, epsom salts, and boron to the field, and he says it turned very green within a week of this and grew 30cm taller. The crimson clover and vetch companion crops are now in full bloom, Alistair hopes this keeps pollinators in the field for longer to ensure every last oilseed rape flower is pollinated.

The winter barley and wheat are good in places but poor in others. They have been brought up to 163kg N/ha. Foliar nitrogen will be applied if Alistair thinks the crops need more. The poor ground conditions prevented the first fungicide from being sprayed until last week. This consisted of Proline (0.3l/ha), Modem 200 (0.6l/ha), Epsom salts (4kg/ha), and Medax Max (0.3l/ha). Alistair says that the crops remained clean and did not come under stress despite the delayed fungicides.

The winter rye does not look great, but the companion crops are bulking the crop up a bit, so Alistair hopes that the yield will still be reasonable when it is wholecropped. It has only received one growth regulator so far.

Pa has been flat out spraying between the showers over the past couple of weeks. The recent warm, sunny weather mixed with rain showers has pushed crops on, and helped the late sown spring crops to catch up a small bit on where they should be at this time of the year.

The Amity spring malting barley, planted on 14 April, has fully covered the ground and is growing and tillering strongly. On 9 May, Ninja (50ml/ha) and Axial Pro (0.55l/ha) was applied to the crop at the 3-leaf stage to help control aphids and wild oats. Pa then came back in this week during tillering with the herbicide and first fungicide spray. This consisted of Cameo Max SX (31g/ha), Galaxy (0.79l/ha), Innox Pro (0.43l/ha), Comet 200 (0.51l/ha), and trace elements.

The spring oats were planted at the start of March, so they are now well into stem extension. The first spray consisted of CeCeCe 750 (1l/ha), Cameo Max SX (35g/ha), Galaxy (0.95l/ha), Trinity 250 (0.5l/ha), Sonis (0.2l/ha), and trace elements. The oats are due their second growth regulator spray in the coming days.

Pa examining his spring malting barley with the help of Barbie and Rorí.

The winter oilseed rape has finished flowering and is now into pod fill. The two-row winter barley is a bit thin but Pa thinks it should be ok. The six-row winter barley is thicker and looks quite good. The winter oats are growing well and are due their final fungicide this week, Pa says this will likely contain Elatus Era.

The winter wheat had its flag leaf spray applied on 16 May. This consisted of Questar at 1l/ha, Pontoon at 1l/ha, Arizona at 1.5l/ha, and Medax Max at 0.32kg/ha. Pa says the crop looks quite well. He says it has had enough of the rain at this stage, and just needs some heat and sun during flowering and grain fill to produce a good yield.