The weather has taken a turn, but many got a nice bit done last week, from ploughing to sowing. Crows will be an issue for the small number of crops that did get planted, and continue to be an issue for many with crops in the ground.

Watch out for slugs as well and treat where needed.


Some farmers are telling me they have not been paid for schemes like the Tillage Incentive Scheme and Straw Incorporation Measure. Let me know if this affects you and what the issue is please. My email address is above.

Soil samples

If you have not yet taken your soil samples, then you should do so. Soil samples need to be taken every 4ha and at least every five years.

If your samples are not in date, then you must assume index 4 for phosphorus and so, you cannot apply it.

Fertiliser orders will need to be made soon and it will take a few weeks to get soil sample results turned around.

Seed orders

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, try and get your seed ordered. Many merchants are sending out texts and asking growers to submit their spring seed acreage. Try and scope out different cropping options.

Many livestock farmers are looking to get slurry moved. Can you make an agreement with them to grow a forage crop for them? There will be a lot of spring barley around the country next year, so from a workload and selling point of view, it might be no harm to have another crop in the ground. Beans, of course, will be among the first seed needed and the protein payment offers security here.

Crop diversification

Remember, crop diversification requirements are still in place for 2024. You need three crops if you have more than 30ha of crops and two crops if you plant between 10ha and 30ha.

The main crop must not take up more than 75% of the area in both cases and the smallest crop should not be lower than 5% of the total area.

Tillage conference

Teagasc will host its national tillage conference on 31 January. This year there will be a focus on practical advice for farmers. Results of the winter planting survey will be displayed.

This will be followed by advice on planting and rotation and there will be a panel discussion. There will be research insights and a talk on opportunities to add value to produce from the tillage sector.

After lunch there will be five interactive workshops and attendees can participate in three of these.

The workshop topics are as follows:

  • 1. Are there synergies for the tillage and dairy sector?
  • 2. What do the 2030 Food Vision Tillage Group recommendations mean for the sector?
  • 3. Getting to grips with grassweeds.
  • 4. Disease control decisions for 2024.
  • 5. Getting the most out of your bean crop.
  • The conference takes place in Lyrath Estate Hotel, Co Kilkenny. Registration is from 9am. Attendees are required to register before the event online or contact your local adviser. The conference begins at 9.45am and closes at 4.15pm.