Another harvest is about to start on the Teagasc BETTER farms. Decisions that were made before and during the season will be soon measured by the combine and on the back of that information, next year's crop programmes will be finalised.
Looking back over the season, the weather was kind when both spring and winter crops were established. I don't think I ever had a season as an adviser when there were as few germination or establishment problems with cereal crops.
As Meath-based Joe O'Donoghue says, the crops "are full to the ditches". Disease levels in general were initially low with the exception of rhyncho in winter barley, but it soon turned out to be a high septoria year in wheat. The Teagasc Oak Park disease trials have had hundreds of visitors in the past month with advisers from the UK, France and Germany making the trip to specifically see the new chemistry in action under challenging situations.
Wheat growers should pay attention this autumn to variety selection, as I have seen robust fungicide programmes performing poorly if the variety is weak on disease to start with.
Our three BETTER farmers will be trying out blocks of the newer varieties this autumn courtesy of the seed trade, which you can see at next year's open days. There will also be plots of all varieties in the Department of Agriculture trials on the BETTER farms also on show at our open days.
Teagasc will be holding its National Crops Forum on Wednesday, September 7, from 2-5pm in the Keadeen Hotel where we will have the latest on markets and crop husbandry.
All are welcome.