The weather windows for getting work done seem to be getting shorter and, over the last week, we had no option but to grab whatever opportunities came.
We have now finished the bulk of the winter barley with just one small field left. We have again planted a two-row variety on the basis that the quality of the grain is better than the normal six row.
There seems to be less contamination in the subsequent crop and, importantly, it is what our customer wants, and each May over the last few years, has been willing to buy a high proportion of the expected yield at a price significantly above the market price.
This, with the continuous decline in prices this year, has been a real help this harvest, so I will continue to play safe.
This week, we also tackled harvesting the beans. We seem to be the last in the area from what I can see to cut beans, but their moisture has dropped dramatically in the last few fine days, so we are cutting in better conditions than I had expected.
I am also conscious that wheat after beans should be a high-value crop, but realising that potential depends on getting the wheat established in good time.
Late-sown wheat without an effective seed dressing has led to serious yield losses in the past, an experience I have no wish to repeat.
None of our customers has yet set a final price for the range of crops we grow, but I assume they will be, give or take, around the Dairygold prices covered in last week’s Irish Farmers Journal. They have all paid a modest on account price at this stage, so there should be lots of scope left for top-ups.
On the cattle side, we have about one-third of the cattle in and are stretching the aftergrass among the rest, but they are getting through it quickly so it looks like an early winter.
With the low price of wheat this harvest, we sent extra over for storage to use ourselves, so we will introduce the most forward cattle onto full feed and hope that we see a rapid improvement in beef prices.