Pa Shine, Ardfinnan, Co Tipperary

There has been terrible weather in Tipperary recently, but Pa has managed to get some work done on good drying days, with some ploughing completed two weeks ago.

The spreader and sprayer have also been busy, with winter crops now up to date. The winter barley is at 150kg N/ha, with the first spray of Decoy 250 EC, Comet 200, and growth regulator applied on 16 March.

The crop looks well, but there is some BYDV in the early sown fields. They were sown on 3 October, but as the variety (KWS Joyau) has BYDV tolerance, Pa does not expect this to affect yield. The later sown crops are KWS Tardis.

The Graham and KWS Dawsum winter wheat look good but have a small bit of disease. It was brought up to 150kg N/ha at the weekend. A T0 fungicide is to be applied shortly.

The gluten-free winter oats are at 50kg N/ha and will be finished at 100kg N/ha shortly as it’s a second crop after ley. The crop received a growth regulator of CeCeCe at 1l/ha and Scitec at 0.2l/ha on 16 March. It also got Wolftax manganese and Midas (0.4l/ha) at that time as there was mildew present over the winter. Pa then came back five days later with a weed spray of Cameo Max SX (45g/ha) and Hurler (1l/ha).

The winter oilseed rape is well into flowering at this stage. The fertiliser has been completed, totalling 150kg N/ha. Pa used the GAI app to assess his crop and was able to reduce the nitrogen applied due to good growth over winter.

It received Procer 300 (0.5l/ha) and Caryx (1l/ha) on 11 March.

Pa is now waiting for the weather to improve to start spring planting. He says it is getting late for malting barley and it will be more difficult to keep the protein low.

Alex Butler, Street, Co Westmeath

It has been difficult to get fieldwork done in Westmeath, but good drying in the past week had Alex hoping that he would get some ploughing done in the early days of this week. Spring beans will hopefully be planted very soon, before moving onto spring barley and organic oats.

He did manage to spread compound fertiliser on his winter crops ten days ago before more heavy rain arrived.

The KWS Joyau winter barley has received 50kg N/ha so far, and more will be applied shortly. Alex would have liked to get the compound on a week or two earlier but he is still very happy with the barley. He says the slurry and chicken litter applied before ploughing in the autumn has really helped the crops to stay green and keep their tillers this spring.

Alex had to fit dual wheels to the tractor to get fertiliser spread.

The Graham and Spearhead winter wheat has also received 50kg N/ha. There is very little difference between the varieties at the moment, with early planted fields a bit more developed. He hopes to apply Alister herbicide this week to help tidy up a couple of fields in their second year after ley.

Alex also has organic Husky winter oats. They are holding their colour well considering the rainfall, probably because it is a first crop after ley. If it does need a kick, Alex will apply organic chicken manure pellets, but he does not want to push the crop too hard so that it keeps standing. Half of the winter oilseed rape is quite strong.

The other half is receiving an extra 25kg N/ha this week to help it bulk up in time for flowering, which is approaching quickly. The variety is PT303. Alex grew this variety last year and it performed well so he decided to stick with it. There is an odd thin headland but Alex is happy with it overall considering the conditions it has endured.

Neill Patterson,Seaforde, Co Down

With 48mm of rain in four days last week, the situation is getting serious in Down and indeed all over the country. Neill notes that every sector is affected, not just tillage, and he is thankful that his crops look good and he has no spring cereals to plant.

The SY Canyon and SY Armadillo winter barley has received 155kg N/ha so far. It has also got NoVoJett manganese. There is no disease just yet but Neill expects the first fungicide to be applied quite soon. The Graham and KWS Extase winter wheat has received 116kg N/ha in two splits, with two splits remaining.

Neill's KWS Extase is growing very strongly.

It is Neill’s first year growing KWS Extase, and while it looks very promising, he is keeping a close eye on it as it is a very forward crop.

There is no disease present yet but Neill will be on the lookout for it with the mild and wet weather.

The wheat will receive its herbicide, Othello, whenever land is trafficable.

Neill planted Lynx spring beans on 7 March at 230kg/ha. They were planted three inches deep to try to keep the crows away. It was a worry for Neill as there were no other crops planted locally at the time, but it has worked so far. A pre-emergence herbicide of Nirvana (4.5l/ha) was applied post-planting. The beans are just starting to peep through the ground this week.

With no spring cereals to plant, the only crop Neill has to drill is maize. His ideal planting date is 20 April, so there is no rush on this just yet.

This will be sown under the new bio-film, which Neill was very happy with last year.

He says it’s a gamechanger. It puts less stress on the plants and there is very little left in the field after harvest. Once the weather dries up, broiler manure will be spread and ploughed in preparation for the maize.