Tillage farmers urged to grow fodder crops, amid concerns around early silage crops yields and quality
The 2017/18 cropping season is being severely impacted by the current bad spell of weather and crop options have narrowed considerably but the possibility to grow fodder for livestock farmers should be strongly considered, according to Teagasc.
It says that given that stocks of fodder carried over to next autumn are likely to be very low and farmers should look at growing fodder especially as early indications around silage quality and yields are not positive.
The total area of tillage planted each year is a mixture of winter and spring plantings and generally where bad weather disrupts autumn plantings the land not sown in the autumn, is planted in the spring, it says.
However, to date, weather has disrupted both autumn (2017) and spring (2018) planting, as well as spring management of autumn sown crops.
Autumn plantings are estimated to be down by 10.2pc (Table 1), while little progress has been made with spring planting with many spring crop options now past their optimum (and in many cases profitable) planting dates.
Almost all spring crops will be planted later than normal this year resulting in a lower yield potential in these crops. Yields of winter crops may be reduced due to the wet soils and delayed applications of inputs at the correct timings. On average, winter crops are 10-14 days behind normal growth stages.
Ciaran Collins, Teagasc Tillage Specialist said: “The wet autumn and spring means that very few crops are up to date with weed control, fertiliser and fungicide. A small proportion has received nothing to date. Winter barley, which has not received the first split of nitrogen, or had weeds controlled, will more than likely suffer a yield reduction.
“Little or no spring planting has been done to date. Spring wheat, spring oats and beans are past their optimum planting date. Crops planted from now on will be lower yielding and will result in a late harvest,” according to Shay Phelan, Teagasc Tillage Specialist.