Re-drill or not is crops dilemna

Many tillage farmers faced a recovery operation when the weather improved.

Re-drill or not is crops dilemna

According to Teagasc advisers, the first decision for many was whether or not to re-drill winter crops, in which plant counts were lower than normal in all regions, due to winter damage.

Also, crops urgently need PGR applications, fertiliser and spring weed control.

High levels of volunteer beans are a specific problem in some winter wheat crops, requiring urgent control.

In oil seed rape, crops had recently grown considerably, but growers were advised to make every effort to deter problem pigeon grazing.

Most growers also needed to take action against quite high disease levels in oil seed rape.

Spring crop planting only got under way last week, on lighter soils, with advisers saying seedbed preparation and seed and fertiliser strategies needed careful planning, to ensure optimum establishment.

The area of spring cereals, especially spring feed barley, is likely to reduce again in 2016, due to low profitability and increased winter drillings.

Spring rape may be an attractive option compared to feed cereals, according to last week’s bulletin from the Crops and Energy Knowledge Transfer Department, Teagasc, Oak Park, Co Carlow.

Crops of spring rape should be drilled into good seedbeds, for rapid emergence to suppress weeds and ensure an early harvest.

Teagasc advisers said maize sowing under plastic will take place from early April onwards, open crops will not be sown until mid-April.

Although 2015 was only an average year for maize, Department of Agriculture plastic and open trials yielded 20.3 tonnes of dry matter per hectare and 19.5t respectively, the highest yield ever recorded in DAFM variety trials.

Teagasc advisers said no fodder beet had been sown up to last week, and that reduced demand in 2015/6 is likely to impact planting in 2016,

The 8,100 hectares of potatoes in 2015 was the lowest area ever.

Main crop planting will commence in early April.

Tillage farmers are advised of major changes to Chlorpyrifos (for example, Dursban) and MCPA for the 2016 season.

And they must complete the Basic Payment application online before Monday, May 16.

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