Some crops may be salvageable despite horrendous conditions
Published 28/09/2016 | 02:30
As I write I am reflecting and recovering from this year's Ploughing Championships. It again demonstrated itself as a uniquely Irish annual celebration of all things farming.
Prior to attending the first day with some Chinese visitors, I tried to explain the scale and importance of the event. It was ironic that despite living and working in Beijing, they were both amazed by the size of the crowds, busy carparks and bustling walkways.
Once they found their bearings, they discovered the show on their own and that evening described it as a wondrous event commenting on the music, food and warm reception they received on all stands.
From speaking to many farmers over the three days the issue of the late and disastrous end to the harvest was a reoccurring topic.
Living in the north-east, the bulk of the cereal harvest finished three weeks ago and saving straw also followed suit. Unfortunately, this hasn't been the case in many other regions. I saw many horrific phone pictures of lodged crops, sprouted spring wheat and rotting straw.
In some cases these crops were possibly unsalvageable but where either a combine or harvester can enter the field a number of options are still possible. With sprouted spring wheat, the best option is still to harvest the grain if conditions allow. This sprouted grain will have a reduced feed value but with the correct preservation it can be stored and fed safely to animals over the winter.
The most common preservation method for grains with a moisture of 24pc-35pc is crimping. However, this method requires grain to be harvested at an immature stage, with sugars still in the grain.
Sprouted grain is now fully mature, with sugars having already converted to starch. Acid treating or storing the grain using drying pedestals are the best options for grain in this condition.