The recent dry weather has allowed Alex to catch up on fertiliser and spraying on winter crops and he has planted over half of his spring crops.

The winter oilseed rape looks really promising. Alex says the past couple of weeks have provided good weather for flowering.

The winter barley is starting to green up but Alex thinks that some yield potential was lost as the last split of fertiliser was delayed, and a few tillers died.

The barley received a spray of Ceraide (1.5l/ha), Medax Max (0.25kg/ha), Stavento (1.5l/ha), manganese, Hurler (0.7l/ha), and Coyote (0.6l/ha).

The winter wheat received Pacifica Plus, and Alex came back a couple of days later with CeCeCe 750 (2l/ha) and Comet 200 (0.5l/ha).

However, this has caused some stress to the crop. Alex tried to wait until the tramlines had dried to complete fieldwork, but he says they are in the worst condition he has ever seen. On a more positive note, the organic winter oats look really good.

Alex says they would make you question all of the hard work with sprays and fertiliser for conventional oats. He says the key is keeping the soil fertility at a high level.

The last of the spring beans were planted in the past few days. Lynx, Caprice, and Protina beans were planted at seed rates over 200kg/ha at a depth of 6cm.

A pre-emergence herbicide of Defy (2l/ha) and Emerger (2.5l/ha) was applied to all the beans.

Alex only started drilling Gangway and SY Amity barley at the weekend. All nitrogen is being placed in the seedbed.


Some maize was also planted at the weekend. Alex is sticking to his crop rotation, with some maize being planted before other crops over the weekend as the maize was being planted in drier fields.

The first of the spring organic oats have emerged and look well, but there are still some Husky oats to be planted.

The spring oilseed rape will also be planted in the coming days.

It has been a hectic couple of weeks in Down as Neill pushed to get the ploughing, planting, fertilising and spraying completed.

Once the rain stopped, Neill’s ground went from very wet to very dry very quickly. Neill drilled all his maize in the past two weeks.

It was planted in great conditions, and a lack of wind made working with the plastic simpler.

The Pioneer varieties 7034, 7326, and 7381 were planted at 42,000 seeds/ac.

Neill planted his maize into great seedbed conditions last week.

A herbicide was also applied at planting, consisting of Wing-P (4l/ha) and Most Micro (2.5l/ha). Broiler manure was applied just before ploughing.

The spring beans have established well and have a good plant stand. Neill was a bit worried, as the beans had no dry weather for four weeks after planting. However, they came through it and he is happy that he managed to get them in at the beginning of March.

The winter barley was late getting its first fungicide due to wind and rain.

There has been little disease, so the timing not a major worry.

When finally applied, it got Siltra Xpro (0.7l/ha), Mirror (1l/ha), CeCeCe 750 (1.2l/ha), Palisade (0.16l/ha), and manganese.

Neill then applied Axial Pro at 0.6l/ha at the weekend to control wild oats. The flag leaf will be emerging this week, so Neill will be keeping an eye on the crop for the paintbrush stage for the T2 spray.

The KWS Extase and Graham winter wheat had a good amount of septoria on it before a T1 spray was applied on 20 April containing Ascra Xpro (1.2l/ha), Mirror (1l/ha), CeCeCe 750 (1l/ha) and Palisade (0.15l/ha).

Tebucar (1l/ha) was also applied to control yellow rust on the Graham wheat. The crop has been brought up to 200kg N/ha, and the final split will be applied this weekend.

Neill has found that the winter crops have been a bit stressed after growth regulator and herbicide applications this spring due to the cold temperatures at night.

Pa was delighted to get all his spring drilling done before 14mm of rain fell on Sunday night.

He started planting Husky spring oats on 13 April at 157kg/ha. It was only barely dry enough, but the crop has now emerged and will be brought up to between 100kg and 125kg N/ha.

Pa then moved to planting spring barley.

He mostly has SY Amity malting barley, with a small bit of Spinner feed barley too.

The SY Amity was planted at 180kg/ha and the Spinner was sowed at 188kg/ha. Pa applied compound fertiliser in the seedbed and is applying the remaining nitrogen this week as the tramlines are just visible.

A total of 150kg N/ha is being applied. Ground was ploughed, fertiliser was then spread and tracks were grubbed out before sowing with a power harrow one-pass drill.

The winter crops look quite good and there has been lots of activity in these fields in the past couple of weeks.

Petals are beginning to fall from the oilseed rape, so Pa applied Shepherd (0.61l/ha) to control sclerotinia and Triple Ten (1l/ha), a foliar fertiliser.

Ploughing taking place on Pa's farm.

The winter barley has received its second spray of Elatus Era (0.75l/ha), Arizona (1.5l/ha), and Terpal (2l/ha). The awns are peeping now on the barley and it will soon be due its final spray.

The winter wheat has a small bit of septoria but Pa says the T0 spray kept it in check.

A T1 spray of Revystar XL (1.5l/ha), Arizona (1.5l/ha), and a growth regulator was applied last week. The wheat will also be brought up to 225kg N/ha shortly.

Mildew has been present in the winter oats throughout the spring. Therefore, Pa included a second application of Midas (0.5l/ha) in his tank mix last week, which also included CeCeCe 750 (1l/ha), Scitec (0.2l/ha), Flexure (0.8l/ha), and Comet 200 (0.4l/ha). This was applied at GS32.