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Sunday 25 February 2018

Tillage advice: Yield potential is back in optimum territory thanks to recent rainfall

PJ and Freda Kinnarney alongside Sandy and show chairman Rodney Cox at the Tullamore AIB National Livestock Show Sponsor's Night in The Bridge House Hotel, Tullamore. Photo Ger Rogers HR/Photo.
Pat Minnock

Pat Minnock

What a difference the rain makes? While we all feel we get too much rain, crops suffer most when rainfall in low. This spring has been a case in point. Over the last two weeks all crops have turned inside out and again yield potential for most crops looks excellent.

The harsh cold weather of late April caused significant problems with spray damage with a particularly strong effect from growth regulators.

This can be put down to a significant variation in day and night time temperatures, and again emphasises the need to watch temperatures when applying any chemicals, particularly growth regulators at this time of the year.

Spraying should be avoided if there is a deviation of ten degrees or more between day and night time temperatures.

Crops where this was evident, particularly winter wheat and oats have now grown out of this and the top leaves are generally clean.

Disease levels in winter crops are generally low except for mildew on wheat. This is mainly on the stem and even where crops received a mildewicide previously mildew is still present. If you have not yet applied your T2 or will be applying your T3 shortly, a robust rate of mildewicide should be included.

The product Tern is a better wheat mildewicide than Corbel however, you need to watch the buffer zone which has a label recommendation of 15 metres. The addition of a suitable adjuvant can help to bring the chemical down the stem to give it more effective contact. Mildew also appears to be the main issue with spring barley, especially Mickle.

Robust rates of mildewicide should be included with the main T1 fungicide on spring barley.

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Winter oats

Crops of winter oats are now headed out and are generally clean. The final head spray should be applied and could include Tebuconazole for straw colour.

Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV) This is evident in spring barley crops, especially if late sown. Many of the early crops have low levels and is relatively insignificant. Winter crops that were treated with Redigo Deter followed by an aphicide have suffered significantly less BYDV symptoms that those crops that only received an aphicide.

Beans While chocolate spot is still the main concern downy mildew is evident. Ridomil Gold or Signum are options but the addition of a phosphite PGA, bio-stimulant has helped efficacy against this disease.

Fodder Beet

This is a difficult season for weed control in fodder beet. Emergence was very variable with many crops showing both cotyledons and plants at up to 10 leaves. High herbicide rates are likely to damage beet at the cotyledon stage.

This was a year where splitting the T1 application was recommended and has worked well.

This allowed reduced rates (50-70pc) of the T1 typically, Debut, Betanal Maxx Pro, Venzar and oil, however it was necessary to go back in with the 2nd split within five to seven days. If crops are strong now and T2 is due to be applied rates can be varied depending on the type and size of the weeds and the stage of the crops.

The increased use of Betanal Maxx Pro or other products such as Wizzard and oil will be necessary for stronger weeds. Splitting the T2 mix, if some beet is still small, might also be considered. T2's will include Betanal Maxx Pro, Goltix and oil. Lambs quarter or Fathen is generally a weed that survives so the use of high rates of Goltix is important.

Maize

Similarly, weed control might prove difficult this season as most maize was sown in dry conditions and pre emerge herbicides may not have worked well. This could lead to having to band spray some crops. If Calaris has already been used it cannot be used a second time so choice may be limited. Options can include Accent, Clopyralid and Fluroxypyr products depending on weeds present.

Tillage Tams

As most are aware the closing date for the first tranche of the tillage Tams is the end of June. There is significant interest in this, but to date very small numbers have applied.

From enquiries to our own office the main interest appears to be for equipment particularly seed drills, fertiliser spreaders and sprayers.

There are a wide range of makes and models available. It is essential that you are very specific with the units and measurements in your application so that the model applied for is the one you can purchase.

In addition to the Terms and Conditions you should read Specification S195 and the Explanatory Notes on Costings set out by the Department of Agriculture which explains the application process and particularly what is covered by the Standard Costings.

I understand that the terms and conditions may still change before the closing date so hold off applications until closer to the closing date. It is difficult to understand the Standard Costings provided, however I am advised by the Department that many extras are generally excluded and the basic machines are used for their Standard Costings.

Needless to say if your grant application is for a capital investment you will need the planning permission before proceeding.

Grants are payable at 40pc or 60pc if you are a young qualifying farmer. Grants are based on VAT exclusive costs and on either the quotation, invoice provided and paid or the Standard Costs, whichever is the lower.

If a 40pc applicant is registered for VAT it will be more advantageous than applying under the 60pc rate if the young farmer is not registered for VAT. You should also refer to the marking sheet to improve your likelihood of success.

Equipment or machinery bought under lease or HP will not qualify as the machine must be paid in full.

This means that you must have a loan arranged or have the money available. It is likely approvals will not be forthcoming until the autumn at the earliest, and, needless to say, manufacturing prices or retail prices will likely rise because of this grant so the grant obtained may not be what you hope.

All growers should undertake their own financial analysis before making this investment. To benefit from a perceived good grant should possibly be the last reason why this investment is made.

There are significant Department obligations on growers receiving grant aid and the drawdown of the grant may not work out as easy or as lucrative as it now appears so be warned.

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


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