Rabbits are causing some serious crop damage
Published 03/01/2012 | 05:00
It was very close to being rabbit and not turkey for Christmas dinner -- but there is not much meat on a rabbit. However, the rabbits are causing problems. They are really eating one field out of it. I reckon they have done about half an acre of damage so far. One side of the field is completely bare, as the rabbits have eaten all the plants right down to the roots.
We have had problems in this field before, as it borders with our neighbour, but never as bad as this year. I don't know if it's the mild winter or rabbits that are doing what rabbits are known to do best.
There definitely seems to be more of them this year. It might be time to invest in some good rabbit-proof wire and fence them out. Some of the crop will recover in the spring but most is too far gone.
After all the usual over indulgence at Christmas, we needed to go for a walk, so we used it as an excuse to have a look at the crops. They all look good but you can still see the difference in sowing dates, with the earlier crops being much thicker than the later sown ones.
The weed control worked surprisingly well considering the wet and mild weather we have had so far this winter. We used 0.25l/ha DFF and 2l/ha of IPU.
We will keep a special eye on the headlands and patches of the fields that are more vulnerable to weeds throughout the year.
Last year, we had some sterile brome on the headlands where I didn't turn over the sod properly at the corners when ploughing. I did try and take extra care this year, so we will wait and see if it's better.
We have been following the forward price of grain all year and try and sell at various stages. The price of dried wheat in November was around €175/t. At the same time, we are watching the price of fertiliser to try and work out our costs and what we can afford to spend on the crop.