The last week has brought some drier conditions, and while land has a long way to go to dry out in many places, there are some moving on with cultivations.

Conditions may be good for some, but be careful not to do harm on wetter ground, even if it is nice to be getting ahead of work. There is also an odd baler moving on 2023 straw.

There is rain on the way, hopefully it will not be much. In the coming weeks, if conditions allow, it could be a good idea to persist with winter wheat planting.

Crows are an issue at present for some.

However, there is a seed shortage and it would be better to be planting Irish seed than imported seed, which may contain weed seeds which could start a whole other problem.

Irish seed has very high standards when it comes to grass weeds, so no matter how hard the trade tries to get clean spring seed there is always a risk.

Recommended lists

The Department of Agriculture released its recommended lists last week. There is a three-page special on the tillage pages this week, detailing these lists. Have a good look through them.

You may not have choice with varieties this season, as there is a seed shortage. It is estimated that there is a shortfall of seed for 35,000ha.

However, you should still look for the variety that most suits your farming system and the end market that you are growing for. You also need to keep an eye on the traits of the variety.

For example, if you are growing two varieties of barley, you should spread risk and get varieties with different scores for earliness of maturity. Try to decide on your spring cropping area now, and place orders for seed as soon as possible.

Taking delivery of seed and fertiliser for early-sown crops like beans could help reduce workload in a few weeks’ time.


Remember uncultivated stubbles need to be left in place until 1 February. They cannot be cultivated or sprayed until this date, unless a crop is being planted immediately.


If you are taking in slurry it might be a good idea to test it. In order to get an accurate result, the slurry needs to be agitated to take the sample, which is an issue.

You’ll need about 0.5-1l for the test. Maybe you can get the slurry from your slurry spreader. Do not take a sample if you don’t have a safe way of taking it.

One lungful of gas from slurry can kill.

If livestock farmers are looking to move slurry onto your farm or if you would like organic manures brought onto your farm, see what sort of an agreement you can come to.

Could you plant a forage crop that they will purchase and use the slurry on that crop? That forage crop would reduce the amount of cereal seed that you need as well, which could be a positive.

Can you sell straw at a lower price if you get the farmyard manure back to be spread on your land? You cannot spread slurry in frost.