With most of the maize and fodder beet sown, Teagasc advisors said last week acreages of both are likely to be reduced, compared to last year.

A significant area of potatoes was yet to be planted last week, ranging from about 10% in the south east to 25% in the north east.

Main crop area may increase, due to the availability of cheaper land; however, any increases will be constrained due to lack of quality seed.

Indications are the first earlies area has increased compared to last year.

These early crops suffered limited frost damage, and are growing strongly.

In spring cereals, fertiliser top dressing and weed and pest management strategies need careful consideration.

Rapid growth in later sown cereals will induce trace element deficiencies (such as magnesium or manganese); growers are advised to treat crops before deficiency symptoms occur.

During good growing conditions, crop demand for nutrients is high, and will lead to soft lush growth with a potential for trace element deficiencies.

Poorly consolidated seed beds further reduce trace element availability, hampering uptake and reducing yield.

Check recent soil test reports, and monitor crops regularly where deficiencies are expected.

Correct all deficiencies before growth stage 30.

Over 70% of spring barley was drilled later than normal in 2016, and it will jump through growth stages.

Spray and fertiliser timings need to be accurate to make best use of inputs, especially in a low margin situation.

Grain markets remain depressed, adding to concerns about lack of profitability.

Winter cereal growth has been behind normal, with winter barley at the heading stage last week, and winter wheat close to flag leaf emerging in advanced crops

Winter barley was approaching the ideal time for the final fungicide application timing (growth stage 45) lst week.

Growers were advised to watch for bean weevil damage in establishing crops of spring beans, and apply a pyrethroid insecticide if necessary.

Winter oil seed rape crops ranged from the start of flowering to early pod set.

Later flowering crops (or patches of crops) were due to significant pigeon grazing over the winter.

A fungicide for sclerotinia control, at the start of petal fall, will be warranted where risks are high.

Most bean crops were very well established, with crow damage very localised.


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