Tillage: Crops have recovered to normal growth levels

Crops, such as spring barley, have benefitted from the heavy rain.
Crops, such as spring barley, have benefitted from the heavy rain.
Pat Minnock

Pat Minnock

Many crops, particularly spring barley, wheat, oats and grass for second crop silage, have benefited from the heavy rain and good growth conditions of last week. Crops have generally caught up and are at normal growth stages for this time of the year, with many spring barley crops looking particularly lush.

The constant rain of last week has left some winter oats and particularly some heavy winter barley crops looking tossed.

Hopefully, as the heads are still light and yet to reach grain fill no serious lodging will occur and, with the likely improvement in weather, all will remain standing for some time yet.

Disease pressure has been low this year. Winter barley and oats remain very clean and have received their final fungicides so yield prospects look good. Wheat crops are showing three and four clean leaves with the final fungicide now recommended, if not already applied.

The product chosen, at this stage, might be used at reduced rates to save some costs. However, as most crops are in the crucial grain filling period and still six to seven weeks from harvest, skimping on the fungicide may not be the best plan.

The main diseases to watch for at this stage are fusarium and rust. Triazoles at 50-80pc rates of Gleam, Prosaro, Caramba or Folicur plus a 50-80pc rate of a strob should maintain clean crops.

A product such as Amistar Opti generally gives good value as the Chlorothalonil is included at little cost.

It is likely that winter wheat crops will need to be treated for aphids. This can be done at the same time.

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Spring wheat crops are also clean and the final fungicide will not be required for another two weeks. This might be similar to the products mentioned but may have to include a mildewicide. Spring barley crops have also remained clean and a final fungicide, again a reduced cocktail of some of the above products or a well priced proprietary product, should see the crop to harvest.

Spring beans are now well into flowering and should be treated for chocolate spot again as the current weather is ideal for its spread. Products such as Signum, Amistar or Ridomil with or without Rover can be used.

The inclusion of trace elements particularly Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Zinc with a small amount of Boron will be beneficial. Spring rape is now also in full flower and should have received a main fungicide and treatment for pollen beetle before flowering.

New BPS facility

The Department of Agriculture has provided a new facility - preliminary checks on all BPS applications that were submitted online in 2016.

This is a fantastic improvement and justifies online applications even more. This allows simple errors for example, over claims and dual claims, to be either checked or corrected without penalty. The closing date for these corrections was yesterday (June 20).

If you do have over claims or dual claims that have not been amended these will still need to be amended before payments can issue and it should be done immediately to avoid payment delays later in this season.

Currently, advisors are caught up trying to organise participants for Knowledge Transfer (KT ) groups.

This is now open for tillage growers with the closing date June 30 to have your name registered with the Department through a KT facilitator. You are obliged to attend five meetings a year, one of which can be a national event.

As a participant this will also provide you with a Carbon Navigator, an E-Profit monitor, Health and Safety and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) training while, at the same time you will receive a payment of €750 per year for the next three years.

Hopefully it will also improve your knowledge and management skills in crop production - all paid for by the EU. So if you are considering one please register your name with a recognised facilitator before the end of the month. (www.agriculture.gov.ie).

Pat Minnock is a Carlow-based agricultural consultant and a member of the ACA and the ITCA. www.minnockagri.ie

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