Trial plots point the way as fantastic July tees up crops for 2013's harvest
What a fantastic July we have had. The sun shone and the crops look really great because of it. They have turned inside out since the long cold spell during spring. It was heartening to see the combine back in the field for the start of this year's harvest.
When I hear the combine roar and smell the fresh straw it gives me the shivers - all our work during the year has come to this.
There is something almost romantic about having tea and sandwiches in a freshly-cut field. The long days and warm nights, chatting with your neighbours, and all the comings and goings.
At the beginning of the month we went around looking at various trial plots with Teagasc, Drummonds and Syngenta. These are very informative days. You can see in practical terms what the difference is between crops. It can be fungicides, fertilisers or varieties.
They cover a wide range of comparisons. This time last year we were impressed with a new variety of winter wheat we saw in one such trial called Avatar.
We grew it this year and so far it looks good and it will be interesting to compare it to some of the other varieties, especially JB Diego, which did very well for us last year. This year is no different with another couple of varieties catching our eye.
One is a new barley called Volume which is a six-row hybrid. There were also very impressive winter wheat varieties called Leeds and Dunmore. The Leeds trial plot had huge heads and if you could get it to grow like that in a farm situation you would have a bumper crop.
We have also had some varieties that looked great in trial plots, but never repeated the same results in a farm situation.