The good weather a couple of weeks ago was a very busy time for Jack, with the harvest being completed and hay being made.
The organic spring oats yielded quite well, at over 1t/ac. However, this was at a moisture content of 25% as the charlock that was in the crop all year led to a lot of green in the tank.
Jack says that this problem was worse than last year as the charlock was not as developed, which may be due to the weeding that Jack did knocking the charlock back a bit.
The spring milling wheat was disappointing, and didn’t quite meet 1t/ac. The weeds took over the crop due to the prolonged dry and wet periods after planting.
Despite this, the wheat that was harvested was of quite good quality. The wheat’s protein was 12.9%, which is very high considering no nitrogen was applied. Therefore, this wheat should make good-quality flour.
The moisture was also under 20% so Jack is quite happy overall with the crop.
Both crops had their straw chopped under the Straw Incorporation Measure, and it has been incorporated. However, Jack has not had an opportunity to plant his cover crops yet but he will do this as soon as possible.
He would prefer to have this done by now as he is doubtful that the cover crops will produce much biomass at this stage.
Jack also made 12 acres of multispecies sward hay during the good spell. It was left on the ground for six days before baling on a very hot day. It seems to be quite good hay, and the only bit of moisture in the hay is the chicory, but when baled up with all the other species, it should be fine, and the bales have not heated at all so far.
Jack is now trying to sell the hay so that he can clear the field before more rain falls.
The harvest is nearly over for Tony, with only 10ac of spring beans left to cut. Work has progressed quite well except for an awkward bearing on the combine needing replacing that took a couple of days.
The beans were OK, with low yields only occurring where establishment was poor.
The best field yielded 2.2t/ac, while they averaged 1.8 to 2t/ac for both Tony’s own beans and what he combined on hire.
The beans had also suffered from drought in June. The moisture content was good at between 17% and 22%. Considering it was a low-input crop, Tony is relatively happy.
There are between 14 and 16 rows of grains on each cob, and now Tony is just hoping that they fill before harvest
The maize is about four weeks away from harvest. Tony is not expecting a huge yield but he does expect the margin on the crop to be good.
There is one very good cob on each plant, and the maize is very uniform. There are between 14 and 16 rows of grains on each cob, and now Tony is just hoping that they fill before harvest.
In the last week, Tony has been preparing to drill triticale. He has spread over 1,000t of compost on this land, and it will be sown by strip till whenever the weather allows.
Despite the recent rain, Tony says that his land is quite dry and hard at the moment, so he hopes to be able to work it between the showers.
Tony is also planning his rotations and crops for the coming year.
He is trying to keep his system simple, but with a good crop rotation in place.
Given the recent nitrates derogation decision, he has been approached by farmers to export slurry on to his land, however they are not keen to pay for haulage like the mushroom growers do currently and, in some cases, Tony is unsure that he would actually receive the slurry at all.
He says this will have to change in order for agreements to become commonplace.
There has been a lot of rain in Tipperary in the past week, and while the harvest is finished, wet ground conditions are now preventing winter planting from taking place.
Spring barley yielded between 2.5t/ac and 2.9t/ac, but very little passed for malting.
This was for a variety of reasons, including green grains, low hectolitre weight and high protein levels. All straw has been baled and fields have been cleared.
There has been a good demand for straw and Mark is still receiving calls from farmers looking for straw but he has no more bales available. Cover crops of fodder rape and leafy turnip have been planted too.
The other spring crops on the farm performed better. The spring oats did very well, yielding 3.4t/ac, while the spring beans came in at between 2.6 and 3t/ac.
Coupled with the Protein Aid Scheme, this makes the spring beans a very favourable crop this year. The fodder beet looks well and is staying healthy and very green, while the maize is still three to four weeks away from harvest.
Mark decided to plant winter oilseed rape for the first time this year. It emerged very quickly and is growing very strongly.
The variety is LG Aviron. Katamaran Turbo (2.5l/ha) was applied post-sowing, while the crop also received 185kg/ha of 10-10-20 before planting.
Winter rye will be planted as soon as ground conditions allow.
Mark has grown this crop before, but not in the past couple of years. He already has a market for the grain secured, and it will be planted in a high take-all risk slot, so that wheat or barley won’t be planted into this field.
There will be a mix of all crops this year on the farm, with the same acreage of winter barley, some winter wheat, and an increased area of winter oats. Mark will start planting barley as soon as the rye is finished.