Damien Fewer,

Kildalton College, Co Kilkenny

Over 125mm of rain has been recorded in July at Kildalton College. Despite this, there have been some opportunities to get winter crops harvested here.

The winter barley harvest began on 13 July. This was about the same date as last year, but the yield and quality were very different. The KWS Tardis yielded 2.75t/ac with a hectolitre weight of between 57 and 60kph, at 18% moisture.

Damien says that the winter barley is the worst crop since 2012, and maybe even before that. The straw was baled the day after cutting, and while not bone dry, it was in good condition and yielded 12 bales/ac, which is average.

The grains did not fill very well at all due to the drought in June, and the crop also ripened very quickly in the weeks leading up to harvest.

Farmyard manure was spread on the stubbles after harvest before cultivation.

The winter oats were harvested between 20 and 25 July. They came in at 3t/ac at 19% moisture and 51kph.

Wet autumn

Damien says that the crop looked quite poor all year due to how wet it was last November when it was sowed. Therefore, the crop did not do too badly. The straw was quite green, but Damien managed to get it baled a few days after harvest.

The winter oilseed rape was cut on the same day the oats were finished. It yielded 2t/ac at 8.4% moisture. Damien was very happy with this.

Winter wheat

There was a very early start to the winter wheat harvest on 25 July. The Graham wheat yielded 4.1t/ac at 20% moisture. Damien says that this would be on the low side for Kildalton College, especially considering it was a first wheat slot.

However, he also notes that it did well to hold on to this yield as the crop lost its green leaf very early. The straw here was turned twice and then baled.

The spring oats and spring barley will be ready to cut when the weather allows.

Alistair Craig

Limavady, Co Derry

The 160mm of rain that fell in July means that Alistair only has 60ac of his winter barley cut, with another 100ac still to go. There has not been two full dry days in a row, which Alistair says is turning the harvest into a salvage operation.

The first field harvested was very poor, yielding 1.8t/ac. There are some underlying issues with this field that need to be rectified. The second field yielded 2.5t/ac. Both of these were Valerie.

The seed-grade KWS Tardis was an improvement, yielding 3.2t/ac when dried. The first half of this was cut two weeks ago, but rain prevented the remainder being cut until last Friday.

The crop broke down a lot in this time and there was a considerable amount of loss. Alistair still has his 10-way-mix of winter barley to cut and this is still looking quite good. The ground is very soft, but the min-till fields are holding up better than the ploughed fields.


No tractors and trailers are being driven on the fields, with the combine unloading into trailers on laneways. Only 40 bales have been made so far, and the straw from the earliest-cut fields is beginning to disintegrate.

The winter oilseed rape was not sprayed off. This turned out to be a good decision as the crop is now fully ripe. There has been no shedding so far as winds have been quite calm, and the rain, while consistent, has not been very heavy.

The winter wheat is a week or two away from being ripe. It looks like a good crop with no bare patches. The wet weather has helped the spring beans. They are still very green, and despite only being 4ft tall, they have a lot of pods on them. The beans will be whole-cropped to prevent a very late harvest and so that winter wheat can be planted.

Eamonn Cogan

Slane, Co Meath

Harvesting is progressing in Meath between the showers. Over 40mm of rain on Friday night has made ground very soft and there is standing water in some crops. It has not been this wet for Eamonn since 2012. Combines have been making tracks and nearly got stuck over the weekend.

The winter barley turned out very well for Eamonn. Yields were between 4 and 4.7t/ac, with the highest yields coming from the two-row KWS Tardis.

Eamonn says the six-row varieties broke down a lot more than the two-rows. He had hoped to sow some cover crops after the winter barley but most of the straw is still lying on the fields. It will take three or four very good days for this straw to be dry enough to bale.

The winter oats yielded 3t/ac dry. The headlands were very poor and there were many bare patches, but the main body of the crop was actually very good, and the oats were of a high quality. The straw was chopped and has been incorporated.

Winter OSR

The winter oilseed rape was harvested last week. There were a couple of fields where clubroot was present. Expectations were quite low, but they ended up yielding a respectable 1.5t/ac. The remaining fields yielded between 1.9 and 2.1t/ac at 10 to 11% moisture. There had been no shedding in the crop when cut which helped to maximise yield potential.

Winter wheat

Eamonn then started into his winter wheat on Friday. There are only 10ac cut so far, but first impressions are very promising, with an estimated yield of over 5t/ac. This was cut at 21 to 22% moisture and 73 to 75kph.

Some grain is being dried by Eamonn which he says allows for harvesting at slightly higher moisture levels than he would otherwise.

The spring barley and spring oats should be nearly ripe by the time all of the winter wheat is cut.