This was aggravated by loss of nitrogen or denitrification in wet soils. Evidence from compaction by wheeling is still evident in some spring crops indicating that soils, though dry on top and wet underneath are not capable of bearing the same machine weights that drier soils in autumn can accept.
Oats liked the wet month of May but, similar to other crops, suffered from lack of nitrogen where denitrification occurred.
There are some crops of winter oats on which the upper grains on the panicle are discoloured, possibly associated with fungicide application on June 9 and 10, when we had the low night temperature followed by a long day of sunshine as outlined above.
Recent warm weather with good light conditions and low sunshine should give good grain fill.
Despite the wet month of May rhynchosporium did not become a problem in barley, even where only low rates of fungicide were used.
Mildew was not an issue except for oats where timely use of preventative fungicides performed very well. BYDV was not a problem this year in barley which did not receive an aphicide in midland counties.
However there are reports from costal and other areas of high levels of virus in unsprayed crops.
With increased reports of aphid resistance it is important to review current strategies and to restrict applications to high risk situations.
Perhaps the most remarkable issue this year is the amount of sterile brome to be seen in crops. Perhaps the wet May suited it but certainly the increase in winter barley acreage and min-till are major contributors.
Tillage farmers should map fields and areas of fields with sterile brome and either avoid cutting those areas or clean the combine thoroughly before moving to clean fields.
If you have recently purchased a second hand combine make sure that all possible contamination is removed before use. Black grass which is now the major weed in England has been found in a number of fields in Ireland and was possibly brought in with imported machinery.
Price prospects for grain are better now than they were earlier this year with a current likely price of €140 - €150 for green barley and €15/t more for wheat.
High inclusion rates of imported maize (GM?) in rations continues to be a major issue with which we have to contend.
Price for rape is still unclear but it looks as if it will make the high €300 region.
Finally a quick word on safety. Review your farm safety assessment/statement and make sure that your entire team is fully aware of hazards that they may encounter.
Complete all repairs on your 'must do' list. Once machinery starts moving for harvesting there will be ongoing repairs and maintenance.
Be careful with portable hand tools and always use a plug-in Residual Current Device (RCD) - most of you don't have them but one costing around €10 from any good electrical wholesaler/hardware store could be a potential lifesaver.
Replace damaged electrical equipment immediately and pay particular attention to flexes. You should fully uncoil any extension leads to prevent overheating. All safety guards on machinery should be kept in place and not left off due to repeated ongoing repairs.
PJ Phelan is a farmer and agronomist based in Co Tipperary; he is a member of the ACA and ITCA