Tillage growers urged to avoid sowing cereals despite spring-like conditions
Tillage growers have been warned not to get carried away with early spring sowings, despite near-perfect seedbed conditions in many parts of the country.
Teagasc tillage expert Jim O'Mahony issued the warning amid reports that farmers in the south of the country have already put seed in the ground.
"Margins are going to be tight enough for 2012 and growers cannot afford to take risks," he said.
"While you might get away with sowing beans because they are sown deeper, I would be very wary of sowing cereals in the second half of January."
The Teagasc expert said it would be extremely difficult to keep crows off emerging crops and there was nothing much to be gained by sowing so early.
His advice was echoed by fellow tillage adviser Michael Hennessy, who warned farmers they were still at least two weeks too early.
"Birds and frost could still be a problem," he maintained.
With winter cereal acreage significantly up on previous years, it remains to be seen whether this will result in a fall in spring sowings.