Farm Ireland

Sunday 17 December 2017

Outlook is good so far for all crops

Outlook is good so far for all crops
Outlook is good so far for all crops

Nora O'Donovan nodonovan@

All crops are looking particularly well for this time of the year. Little or no damage appears to have taken place from pests. Pigeon damage to oilseed rape is very limited.

This is mainly because the oil seed rape crops were strong and well advanced over the winter and limited pigeon options to land.

It is still too early to apply spring nitrogen to crops except to the very backward crops where it may be advisable to go a little early.

Early applications of nitrogen to winter barley will switch the crop from the reproductive state to the vegetative state and will drive vegetation particularly in suitable weather conditions.

The longer the crop remains in the reproductive stage the more grain sites are formed. There is obviously a fine balance on when to apply the first nitrogen.

The crop stage, the field conditions and the weather forecast will dictate when applications commence.

Now is the time to ensure you have a comprehensive nutrient management plan (NMP) for your farm. At this stage all the crops proposed should be known.

Don't forget to fully consider the implications of the three-crop rule and the percentage of these crops required.

Also Read

Similarly if you are involved in share farming be sure that you get your three-crop rule correct. Both these topics were covered in last week's edition.

We are informed again by the Department that all maps will be available to farmers this week.

Basic Payment

The Basic Payment Scheme application will also be open this week so now is the time to discuss the matter with your consultant or advisor and get this work done early.

You should also consider if it is worth your while applying for the new agri environmental scheme - GLAS.

Again, as previously advised, farmers with more than 30ha of tillage will be considered Tier 1 applicants and will get priority for entry into GLAS. Get well informed now before field work gets too busy.

Your NMP should consider the use of any available organic manures in your locality.

There are a wide range available, however, most materials also have a wide range of nutrient values. Recent and accurate soil sample results are imperative for good nutrient management planning but, in addition, analysis of the organic material is essential.

Facilities supplying organic material must be washed down when emptied so if you are obtaining the last few loads from any facility it is likely that the nutrient analysis will be much lower than from the initial loads.

Regular sampling of deliveries is recommended to ensure manures contain what you might expect.

You would not buy artificial fertiliser without analysis. You could find yourself applying very expensive water. Remember haulage of low nutrient organic manures costs the same as haulage of high quality organic manures.

The attached table gives an indication of content and a guide to values of a range of organic manures based on current fertiliser prices.

Every effort should be made immediately to plant beans.

The earlier sown at this stage the better potential yields and the earlier the likely harvest. Seed is scarce so before you make the move to start planting make sure you have the seed.

Aim to establish 30-35 plants per square meter and don't be afraid to sow the crop deep - up to 12.5cm to limit bird damage.

Pre-emerge weed control must be used. This will consist of either Nirvana plus/minus Lingo.

Defy has now received off label approval for pre-emergence weed control in spring beans.

Defy in a mix will improve the control of fumitory, groundsel, speedwell and dead nettle.

It will also control annual meadow grass but will have no effect on volunteer cereals or wild oats. A typical rate would be 4l Defy plus 2.5l per hectare of Nirvana or 4l Defy plus 1.8l per hectare of Stomp Aqua (also off label).

Pat Minnock is a Carlow based agricultural consultant and a member of the ACA and the ITCA.

Indo Farming