Rain has continued to fall in showers across the country and while some crops (winter and spring) have fallen in places, in general this rain is very welcome. It has helped spring crops somewhat. It is too late for some crops and there are fears of secondary growth, but the rain was needed. It will also help to slow down winter crops, which will be no harm. Although winter barley will most likely be cut in some places in the coming days, weather permitting. That rain is also welcome for forage crops, such as maize and beet. Maize looks to be doing very well across the country.
Make sure you are ready for harvest and that combines are serviced and trailers are all set to go. If you can, this is a good time of the year to take a break from the farm, before the harvest starts. Before you know it, you will be sowing again, so if you have a chance to take a few days off – take them.
As the spray season closes, sit down and calculate your final costs. Grain prices have improved in recent weeks and you should have a mark worked out that you are happy to sell at. Calculate what you spent on your crops, from fertiliser and chemicals, to diesel and parts. Using the Teagasc Costs and Returns, which we publish in the Irish Farmers Journal during the year, can be a help.
Wild oats should be pulled at this time of the year, where they are still present, and, of course, other grass weeds as well. If you have grass weeds left in winter crops that you think might be resistant to herbicides, take a sample and send them to Oak Park for testing.
Assess crops for disease levels. For most crops it is too late to spray, but see how successful your management has been and if you should have done something differently. This might help your decisions next season. It might be no harm to write notes beside your crop records and look back through sowing dates and products applied. Is Septoria higher where you planted winter wheat earlier? Was one variety more prone to disease than another? Was it the timing of a product’s application or the product used?
It’s certainly good weather for blight. Keep an eye on the Met Éireann blight forecast. There is a high risk along the west coast of the country until Saturday this week.
Crops and Cover Crop Cultivations: Thank you to all who came to Oak Park last week to see the great research and, of course, the cover crop establishment and weeding demonstrations. We hope you enjoyed the day.
Soil Dependence: BASE (Biodiversity, Agriculture, Soil, Environment) Ireland will hold an open day on chairperson Norman Dunne’s Farm in Maynooth on Tuesday, 4 July, at 10am. Expect lots of great speakers, with a focus on soil health. See BASE Ireland’s social media for more information.