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Spring Crops in Trouble: Tillage Update Reveals Urgent Need for Action in Certain Areas

"Teagasc Report Reveals Majority of Spring Crops Planted Ahead of Heavy Rains, Urges Prompt Action for Remaining Areas"

According to the latest update from Teagasc, most spring crops for 2023 were planted out at the beginning of March, before the heavy rains set in. However, there are still some areas where work needs to be done, and these crops should be planted as early as possible. For wheat and oats, growers aim to chop the straw on these late-sown crops. A lot of spring barley was sown in early March, and these crops have now emerged. But there are still plenty more crops to be sown, and growers should increase barley seed rate as they drill later into April. The target is to sow approximately 350 seeds to establish 300 plants.

Teagasc advises that while fertiliser has come down in price in recent weeks, it is still expensive and should be used as efficiently as possible. When it comes to fertiliser for spring cereals, growers should select a suitable product to deliver sufficient seedbed nitrogen (N) for early establishment and sufficient phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) to match crop offtakes. Trials in spring barley indicate the benefits of placing P fertiliser on Index 1 soils in terms of rapid root and tiller development. Recent work in spring barley has also shown that higher rates of K (80-100kg/ha) can help to reduce brackling in crops. Growers should aim to reduce the chemical fertiliser rates where organic manures have been applied. As a rule of thumb, approximately 30% of the crop’s N requirement should be applied at sowing. Growers should apply the remaining N at mid-tillering or, alternatively, split the remaining N as follows – two-thirds at early tillering and the remaining third by GS31/32. This approach reduces the risk of N loss in feeding barley.

For malting, all the top dressing should be applied as soon as tramlines are visible. Growers should also watch crops closely for signs of manganese deficiency and treat as soon as symptoms appear. Tillers can be lost very quickly, and the crops will not have time to recover. Meanwhile, Met Éireann is forecasting the onset of a warm, dry spell, as high pressure starts to build during the early days of next week. Temperatures are expected to hit 18°C. As a consequence, ground conditions will start to dry up, allowing farmers and growers to get on with much-needed field work. High pressure will then likely decline, allowing for more unsettled conditions to develop as we head towards the following weekend.

Categories: Agriculture