Farm Ireland

Saturday 26 May 2018

Resist temptation to cut corners

Fungicides have already been sprayed
Fungicides have already been sprayed
PJ Phelan

PJ Phelan

There has been a tremendous amount of work done over the past two weeks. The first fungicide, T1, was applied to spring barley and the T2s finished off in winter wheat. That was combined in many cases with mowing and harvesting of silage. Long hours and work pressure, if allowed, puts safety standards and attention to detail at risk.

Crops are very variable this year. Winter wheat looks good and is now due its final fungicide, T3.

Recent Teagasc trials show an average yield response of 0.5t/ha. However in the field responses can be significantly higher depending on season, variety and spray programme to date.

Given the amount of cost already incurred in getting the crop to this stage, now is not the time to start economising unless yield potential is poor.

This is the final attempt to maintain septoria control and to prevent ear blight. Wet weather at flowering results in high infection risk.

For control of it you must spray within 48 hrs of infection taking place - easier said than done. The best strategy is to spray at early flowering. There is a wide range of products available, with choice dependent on individual crops and product availability.

Gleam/ Prosaro/ Magnello with a strob and chlorothalonil will be advised on many crops.

Winter barley is generally thin due to lower than average plant stands and poor tiller retention.

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Wet soil conditions in May did a lot of damage to yield potential and dull weather during flowering did not help. Both winter and spring oats look very good. Mildew has become established in some spring oats so must be sprayed immediately

Every outfit should have one person with overall responsibility for farm safety and must have either a farm safety assessment or farm safety statement.

Every farmer/operator has the responsibility of managing personal safety and the safety of others who are either working with them or who will come in contact with risks they may leave behind.

Attention to detail is important in every aspect of work.

While a lot of thought goes into planning herbicide and fungicide programmes for winter crops less attention is paid to spring crops, partly because of the fact that the programmes are less expensive but largely due to lack of time leading to blanket spraying across an entire block of land or several blocks of land.

This was highlighted for me last week on inspecting a crop of spring beans that have been sprayed with a standard programme for chocolate spot but the crop had a high level of downy mildew on inspection.

On the same farm a crop of Propino, with severe rhynchosporium infection, had been sprayed with a substantially reduced rate of prothioconazole.

The field is north facing and surrounded by high trees ensuring that the crop will be wet for long periods even if it gets warm dry weather.

This year we have seen a lot more manganese deficiency and less magnesium deficiency than normal.

Spring crops are showing a huge amount of variability largely due to sowing date, soil type and sowing conditions.

Early sown crops that were placed into good seedbeds have made very good progress but many of the later crops sown into poorer seedbeds are still struggling.

Variation within a field is high where seedbeds are uneven which results in poor consolidation.

In some cases wheeling by the sower resulted in soil being firmed, with cultivation by the sower loosening soil to sowing depth but the subsequent rolling did not firm up those areas.

The loose soil held moisture resulting in poorer and later germination in those areas.

Crows took a lot of seed from shallow sown areas. This has left the crop with rows of well established plants beside poorer rows.

Use of growth regulators during tillering has helped to solve some of the problem but has not resolved it.

Finally, if you have not already done so, you need to check on your Basic Payment Scheme application to ensure that there are no errors.

While that is a critical exercise every year it is more critical this year as an error in crop type might show that you meet the three crop rule but a field inspection by the Department may show different.

You should also review your Ecological Focus Areas to ensure that hedgerows exist where you have stated then to be.

It will not be enough to say that you assumed that the Department indications were accurate.

PJ Phelan, M Ag Sc is a member of the ACA and ITCA


Indo Farming