3.3-4.3t yields for winter barley crops

Caitriona Murphy

As tillage farmers across the country make inroads into the harvest, Caitriona Murphy talked to the men on the combines last Thursday and Friday to find out how winter crops were yielding and the prospects for the spring crops still standing.

Paddy Harrington, minane Bridge, Co Cork

"I'm getting very high-quality grain in the Saffron winter barley and yields of about 3.6-3.7t/ac. Yields on the six-row Volume variety were a bit higher at 3.8t/ac. Moisture level was 17-18pc. I still have Cassia to cut and some more Saffron.

"The spring crops need more ripening. They are about three weeks away if temperatures stay low but if we get the heat they're talking about, it could come in a lot faster."

Tom Beausang, Youghal, Co Cork

"All my spring barely, for malting and for seed, is two weeks away yet. It was all set before St Patrick's Day. There seems to be some damage from aphids on crops along the Blackwater.

"When you walk through the crop, it's clammy and off-colour. It happened in 2002 as well in some of the early crops. They say it can affect yield by about 0.2t/ac but it's starting to ripen into a more golden colour now so hopefully it won't have too much of an effect.

"Input prices are gone up from €170/ac last year to €230/ac this year, so prices will have to take account of that. Diesel was the biggest difference."

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James English, Ballylooby, Co Tipperary

"Harvesting is going very well at the moment, I'm nearly halfway through the winter barley now. Yields on the two-row variety Cassia are about 3.3t/ac and up to 4.25t/ac on the six-row variety Leibniz. The six-row is bushelling around 66kph and the two-row is up to 70kph. The wheat is a good three to four weeks away at this stage but crops are looking very well. We're working a new six-walker New Holland CX8090 with a 25ft header this year and we have about 200ac done so far."

Willie Masterson, Bunclody, Co Wexford

"Crops look promising but harvesting is about two weeks away yet. I have 90pc malting barley and then some spring wheat. Most of the crops look good, except for some patches on drier ground that did not recover after the drought. There are some dry, gravely patches along the Slaney where the crops were burnt off."

Winston Ashmore, Ballycarney, Co Wexford

"Harvesting of winter oats is about 10 days away I'd say. Spring barley is about two weeks away and it would be great to get a nice slow ripening to fill the grain as much as possible. There is some second growth in some crops but we can't pre-harvest it because it's all for seed and malting."

Noel Delany, Fethard, Co Tipperary

"I'm cutting the two-row variety Cassia and six-row variety Leibniz at moistures of 18-20pc today and yields of around 4t/ac. Winter wheat is still a good two weeks away at this stage."

Helen Harris, Clane, Co Kildare

"We're not cutting yet because moistures are too high and diesel is too expensive in the driers to justify going into crops that are too wet. We have both two-row and six-row winter barley varieties and, unusually, the two-row is actually coming in before the six-row.

"The winter wheat should come in around August 8, which is right on time, even though some people thought it would come in earlier because of the drought."

Tony McGuinness, Ardee, Co Louth

"We started cutting winter barley last week but the weather is holding us up. The barley yielded 3.3-3.5t/ac at 17pc moisture. The winter wheat is about three weeks away. It's hard to say what yields we could get in that because it all depends on the grain fill in the next few weeks.

"We're starting to dessicate the oilseed rape now so we'll be harvesting around the second week of August. The crop looks good, like it could have good yield potential."

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