Thankfully, the weather looks like it might picking up next week at last. So, it will be all systems go once it does. As fields dry out for cultivations, try and get up to date with winter crops, whether that be fertiliser applications or spraying. Growth regulators are due on many crops. Rye, oats and hybrid barley are the ones that really need to be on the money.


Many winter barley crops are due their T1 disease spray. If weeds and growth regulator are also due, and possibly trace elements, then you’re looking at a hot tank mix – which could add stress to the crop and cause ramularia, as well as set back the crop. Split tanks where possible or delay growth regulator application if it is an option. Some winter wheat is still to get a T0, but not all crops will need it. Sulphur and where yellow rust is present a strobilurin like Comet is a good option.

Oilseed rape

Crops are very mixed across the country and even within fields. Some have not received a herbicide, while others have not received nitrogen or fungicide. Tackle these issues as soon as possible once ground is trafficable.


Beans, spring oats and spring wheat should all be the priorities when starting to plant. It is getting late for these crops, but beans offer a payment (see pages 40-41) and many spring oats will be for premium contracts, so it probably makes sense to persist. It is late for spring wheat, but there may be an option to whole-crop it. Malting barley will also benefit from getting into the ground as early as possible, in what is a late season. The longer the growing season, the more helpful this is too reducing protein contents. Get a good bit of nitrogen into the seedbed with the crop to get it off to a good start. There is a fodder shortage. Crops which are suited to planting at this time of the year like maize and beet are options to plant for fodder for livestock. However, you should not grow these crops in the hope that someone will purchase; if planting for a livestock farmer you need at least 50% of the payment before planting. Spring wheat, barley or a cereal/protein mix are all options, even kale could be looked at.

Inputs: There are a lot of farmers who have yet to collect their seed and fertiliser or get it delivered, whatever the case may be. It is a tough season to know what to do, but when the weather window comes, it makes sense to have those in the farmyard so that there are no hold-ups or you don’t spend a few hours on the road collecting seed. Delivery services will come under pressure, so it is as well not to be in the queue.

Crop protection magazine

The Crop Protection Magazine is free inside this week’s paper. Make sure to keep your copy safe for the season ahead. You’ll need it for crop records later on. It’s handy to have nearby when filling out Department records and the Irish Grain Assurance Scheme records.