The weather is really having a severe impact on tillage farms at present. Monday’s rain took the biscuit. More rain is on the way on Saturday and Sunday.

Fieldwork is a long way off for many now as land is extremely wet, but there are better spring days about to dry ground. Recent weather has really set spring planting back.

However, some jobs will have to be tackled if you can travel on ground.

Crop diversification

We still have no update on the two and three-crop rule, so we must plan that it is there. This makes the season difficult for some who are struggling to meet the requirements.

The minister needs to come out with clarification as soon as possible to allow people to make economically sensible decisions for their farms.


Winter cereals and oilseed rape could really do with fertiliser if they have not received any yet, so move as soon as you can on this job. It is getting to the stage where if you can travel you should apply fertiliser.

Tramlines may suffer, but crops are under pressure. Some very advanced crops may be moving towards the time for their second split of nitrogen in the next week.


Many winter barley crops are still at the tillering stage, and will benefit form a plant growth regulator application to try and increase tiller number and strength. If you are moving with the sprayer you should add in your herbicide before crops cover weeds.

If you have grass weed problems in winter crops, then you should still try and use products like Pacifica (wheat only up to GS39), Broadway Star (on wheat, rye and triticale only up to GS33) and Firebird Met (winter wheat and winter barley up to GS25).


Spring beans should be the first crop to go in the ground once weather improves, but don’t plant until conditions are right. In many years we plant beans in March and early April, but the earlier the better on planting.

Make this your priority once the weather picks up. As time moves on, consider what other cropping options you have, and if there are any neighbouring farmers who want maize or beet grown for forage.


It’s a long way away and we need to plant crops before we can implement these ACRES actions, but the Department made changes to ACRES requirements this week.

The changes now mean that over-winter stubbles in ACRES can either be cultivated or left uncultivated. Leaving them uncultivated provides an important habitat for endangered seed-eating birds.

It also means that over-winter stubble under nitrates and ACRES can be treated the same.

Five catch crop species were added to the catch crop list. They include: Balansa clover, Squarrosa Clover, Brown Mustard, Fodder Radish and a Kale/Rape hybrid.

The seed mixes must contain at least two species, but you should not have any more than one species at 60% of a full sowing rate in the mix.