January begins Teagasc Tillage Month
January is generally a quiet month for tillage farmers. Looking out at your fields to see if they are drying out after the last bout of rain or in the workshop completing maintenance on critical machinery are the most common activities at the moment. Michael Hennessy, Head of Crops has suggestions
Teagasc Tillage month
It’s a great time to top up on your knowledge by tuning into the latest information from Teagasc. Over the next month the Teagasc Tillage Month is ongoing with spring seminars, the National Tillage Conference, a number of winter crop management webinars and a malting barley conference/webinar in the coming weeks. REGISTER in the link above and join the conversation.
Teagasc (and probably your accountant) will continue to encourage you to complete and compile records of crop operations for last year and for crops in the ground at the moment. Combining all the actions in a field (sowing, seed rates, herbicide, fungicides, etc. - types and when these inputs were applied) and then combining fields to crop types (winter wheat, spring barley, etc) to figure out what are the most consistently profitable crops on your farm. Teagasc have a very simple e-CRoPs recording program which is free (talk to your local advisor) and also the eProfit Monitor to bring all your crops together for comparison. On top of that Teagasc have a Machinery Cost Calculator which will accurately reflect your machinery costs from year to year. Completing all of these records does take a little time however it’s well worth it for the results. So utilise your time in this area over the coming weeks to help make better decisions in the future.
Planning for the spring crops should begin now
Planning for the spring crops should begin now. The first area to look at is your field’s soil samples up to date. There is a great opportunity to take soil samples now and have these results back before crops need to be sown.
Spring beans will be the first crop into the ground and the latest DAFM recommended bean variety list has only two varieties Fanfare and Lynx list this year. Where the area sown comes close to 10-12,000 hectares there is likely to be a shortage of native produced seed.
As mentioned above where soil samples show low P and K in fields organic manures may be an ideal option to supply crop needs and build reserves.
In the latest Tillage Edge Podcast Mark Plunkett, a Soils and Plant Nutrition Specialist in Teagasc talks about how organic manures can supply a badly needed source of carbon to tillage soils. Mark told the Tillage Edge a typical dressing of 20 tonnes per hectare of farm yard manure will supply 300 kg/ha of carbon to the soil. As slurries contain more water therefore the carbon contribution is much lower.
Mark stressed the biological benefits of organic manures to revitalise soils by improve nutrient cycling and feeding the flora and fauna such as fungus, bacteria, nematodes and earthworms. Where all of these components are functioning correctly crops tend to be more resilient during periods of stress (wet weather or drought) and can give higher yields.
Organic manures can replace up to 50% of the chemical fertiliser applied to spring crops and are a direct replacement to the chemical fertiliser in most cases. Mark maintained that most slurries can be transported up to 15 kilometres but recommends discussion this with the slurry producer to source the most efficient transport type.
For more episodes and information from the Tillage Edge podcast go to: teagasc.ie/thetillageedge And don’t forget to join us for the virtual 2021 National Conference split over two days on Feb 3rd and Feb 17th. More information on Teagasc Crops can be found here