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Managing headlands and yield reductions of up to 30% on tillage farms

Headlands occupy a significant proportion of fields, particularly in an Irish context – for example, a 24 metre headland makes up 50% of the total area on a 4 hectare field. On this week’s Tillage Edge podcast, Dr Mark Ward joined Michael Hennessy to discuss his work in this area.

The increasing size and weight of machinery is a threat to soil structure and its ability to produce crops efficiently is a concern.  

Mark reported variable yields on headlands with yield reductions of up to 30% recorded at the field edge. The importance of correctly setting fertiliser spreaders for accurate headland applications was stressed. Fertiliser spreading on headlands tends to be uneven and Mark recorded application rates varying from 80-120% of the target rate.

Soil structural quality differed across headlands with the poorest structure documented in the zone where all machine turns are concentrated. Mark advises all growers to grab a spade and investigate the soil structural condition on their headlands. This will focus growers on maintaining output on headlands by protecting the soils.

For more episodes and information from the Tillage Edge podcast go to:www.teagasc.ie/the-tillage-edge-podcast

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