Signpost Tillage Farmer
Don farms collaboratively with his uncle James Somers in Munroe, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford in Winter and Spring cereal production sharing both machinery and labour resources.
Challenges Dealing with input and output price volatility. The loss of pesticide active ingredients and grass weed control.
Farm Advisor: John Pettit Teagasc, Johnstown Castle
Signpost Farm Measures Undertaken
All fields destined for spring crops will have non brassica covers crop mixes established in August.
Trading FYM for Straw / Use of dairy processing sludge to replace a proportion of crops N, P & K.
Straw chopped & incorporated to improve soil carbon.
Complete farm fertiliser plan annually to use applied nutrients efficiently to optimise soil fertility.
Nitrogen Use Efficiency
Tailor fertiliser N programmes to utilise N efficiently based on soil N supply, weather conditions and crop requirements at key timings. For example early drilling of Oilseed Rape to take up more soil residual N over the winter period and reduce final crop N based on the crops spring GAI measurements. Aim to have 15% of the farm planted with N fixing crops such as spring beans to reduce farm chemical N use. Plant 15% of the farm with winter oats as oats have a lower N requirement per tonne of grain produced. Analysis organic manures for N, P & K to replace farm chemical N use. Adopt new fertiliser N technologies to increase fertiliser N use efficiency.
Crops are established via non inversion with a tined cultivator. Explore other establishment systems such as direct drilling on reducing carbon emissions and improving soil health.
Complete survey of farm habitats and implement measures where require to improve farm biodiversity.
Utilise farm technologies such as yield mapping, a crop N sensor and GPS application technology to improve the delivery of applied nutrients.