Late-sown spring barley crops can still reach high yields, according to UCD’s Dr Tom McCabe.

Writing in Crop Protection Magazine, free inside this week’s paper, McCabe said a messy, late spring and waterlogged fields are frustrating, but “high yields can have unexpected beginnings”.

Spring barley could hit over 130,000ha this season and so will be the biggest crop in the country by far.

He recalled a spring barley yield of 10t/ha on heavy land at UCD Lyons farm from a May sown crop in 1994 and 11t/ha from spring barley planted in mid-April in south Wexford in 2013, both were in field trials.

McCabe said key to the high yield was a good seedbed and great weather after planting. He also noted that spring barley yields respond well to fungicide and that growers should focus on timing and keeping disease confined to lower leaves.

The magazine looks at sprayer testing, blight control, septoria in wheat, pesticide formulations and more.

–Siobhán Walsh