Tillage: Low light levels big factor in poor winter barley yields
The start of the winter barley harvest gave some very disappointing yields but as we progress, yields and bushel weights have improved.
However it does appear that many fields are yielding 0.7-1.0t/ac less than last year despite having good crop establishment and low disease levels.
Good agronomy is not enough; crops must get light and with solar radiation data for Met Eireann (Gutreen) showing that June levels were 14pc less than last year good plants could not fill grain.
The only consolation is that demand and price for straw is strong. While a lot of the six row varieties have been cut there are some two row varieties which will not be fit for harvest for another week. Most crops sown for whole crop have now been harvested.
Avoid the temptation to harvest what appear to be poor crops as whole crop as a crop which has poor yield potential will not make a good wholecrop. Virtually all winter oilseed rape has been desiccated with harvesting due to start in the first week in August.
After harvest give shed oilseed rape seed time to germinate before cultivating. If you bury seed by you will find volunteers coming through for up to 10 years. The Department recommended list of oilseed rape for sowing 2016 has just been released naming Compass 98, Flash 103 and Sensation 97.
Where glyphosate is used preharvest you must, within six weeks, either sow a crop or take measures to provide green cover. Green cover can be encouraged by stubble cultivation.
Ploughing or the application of a second non selective herbicide on the green cover cannot take place before December 1 unless a crop is sown within two weeks.