Bumper yields of winter wheat and spring crops
It is turning out to be a long drawn out harvest, where the initial excitement of the first turning of the combine thresher in the winter barley seems such a long time ago.
There are plenty of crops yet to be harvested but most crops are worth waiting for. Winter wheat crops are yielding very well, and even spring crops which had missed out on a complete month's growth are returning yields way above initial expectations.
Crops that have yet to see the harvest, such as fodder beet, potatoes, and beans are also looking very promising.
Temperate crops require bright cool conditions to maximise growth and given the summer we have endured, and the good crops in evidence, could it possibly said that the climate in Ireland is normally too warm to grow good crops?
It's getting past time for oilseed rape to be sown. All crops should be in the ground in the next week at the latest. It's hard to gauge interest in this crop.
Yields this year have been good, and prices have been very good, but memories of the previous two years are still a bit raw to see a huge increase in acreage. Good forward prices are available for next year and for fields that are empty, it's still worth considering.
If sowing now, use hybrid varieties and increase seed rate. Ploughing and conventional sowing is the preferred method of establishment and pest control is the priority.
One area of maintenance that must be tackled is the two metre buffer along watercourses. Most of these are a mess and require attention to avoid scrub and noxious weed encroachment.