The winter oilseed rape is planted and already up
Published 07/09/2016 | 02:30
We have finished our harvest for the time being. We have beans and spring oil seed rape to cut in a few weeks. I have to say that for crops that cost less than their winter cousins they look very good.
I won't count my chickens as I have made that mistake before about crops that are not cut. It's only when they are safely in the shed that you can honestly say how they yielded.
The spring oilseed rape has great big pods on it which is a good sign. The beans on the other hand are going black and I'm glad they are not beside the road or we would have the neighbours asking us what went wrong with that crop as they are so dirty looking.
On our recent farm trip to the US we attended a workshop on soil health. As a result we decided that we would try and chop the straw back into the ground in 50ac blocks, rotating the blocks every year.
The reason is to increase organic matter and improve soil health and structure. In the USA they are trying to help keep moisture in and stop soil erosion. In Ireland we are trying to do the opposite and help drainage and keep a good structure, to help with compaction. If we rotate the 50ac block we will gradually cover the whole farm rather than do it all at once.
The rest of the crops all did ok but were nothing special. Because last year was such a good yield for us I thought that was the way that we were going to continue. Sometimes Mother Nature has different ideas.
The winter wheat varieties were JB Diego which is normally an old reliable for very good reason, it doesn't let you down on a difficult year like we have had.
However, this year it only did 3.7 t/ac, while Lilli that got the chicken littler last year did better at 4 t/ac. Torp did 3.9t/ac and Weaver, which was a first wheat after oilseed rape, did 4.4t/ac. These yields are all at 15pc moisture.