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PJ Phelan: Take steps now to weather-proof your autumn sowing strategy

Simply hoping we don’t get a repeat of last autumn’s bad sowing conditions is a gamble you can’t afford to take

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Chris Sweetman checks the quality of spring oats as he harvests on his farm in Clonard, Balbriggan, Co Dublin. Photo: Damien Eagers

Chris Sweetman checks the quality of spring oats as he harvests on his farm in Clonard, Balbriggan, Co Dublin. Photo: Damien Eagers

Chris Sweetman checks the quality of spring oats as he harvests on his farm in Clonard, Balbriggan, Co Dublin. Photo: Damien Eagers

Nothing came easy for the 2019/20 cropping season. We started out last autumn afraid to sow too early with the fear that the loss of Retigo Deter would result in serious barley yellow dwarf virus problems.

The weather broke when we were about to start sowing, and we ended up sowing in November under poor soil conditions, giving miserable crops.

The reduced autumn sowings left us with a large area of spring barley which we are still struggling to finish.