Planning planting, slug control and recording activities on farm
Almost all field work has stopped at the moment and there is a total stop to planting new crops. Michael Hennessy Head of Crops Knowledge Transfer tells us it will take a few days even on the drier land before these soils can take the traffic.
The risks in planting from now probably outweigh the potential benefits. There are farmers with seed in stock with nowhere to go but only the kindest land in the south of the country can be considered suitable to plant with winter barley at this stage of the year. There is still a little time to plant wheat as most varieties can be sown up to the end of January. However be prepared to chase crows for a couple of months until the crop is established. Check on previous editions to get the correct seeding rate if considering planting.
Walking your crops continues to be a priority especially where crops which are struggling to emerge. Slugs are a problem in some field and need to be watched carefully. Setting baits and checking regularly is key to assessing numbers and to determine if actions are needed. Start putting out slug bait points shortly after the crop is planted where problems have been incurred in the past. The threshold for cereals is four slugs per bait point over a 24 hour period. There are a number of products which can be used and include either metaldehyde or ferric phosphate in a wheat bait. These pellets can break down quickly in rain so watch the weather forecast before application. There is more information on this weeks episode of the Tillage Edge podcast where Ciaran Collins, a tillage specialist, goes into more detail on the subject.
Recording the activities on Farm
Keeping track of the costs and sales on your farm is important to keep a track of cash flow, margins on fields, blocks, varieties and across the entire farm. There is an saying in every industry which is equally as important in tillage farming “if you don’t measure it, you cant manage it”. This really boils down to being able to compare how you managed crops in the past and putting in place how to modify this practice to achieve a better outcome.
Teagasc have partnered with Farmplan to provide a crop recording software package called Gatekeeper Express Cloud for Teagasc clients to record their farm records digitally on a simple to use cloud platform.
Teagasc scanned the market to ensure the Gatekeeper Express Cloud software is suitable for Ireland and is easy to use by all tillage farmers.
Gatekeeper Cloud is designed to save time and improve accuracy on farm, allowing farmers to set up records and enter data in just a few minutes. Being cloud-based, the software can be accessed via a web browser, reducing the cost of entry and reliance on specific hardware. Coupled with its accompanying in-field recording app, Gatekeeper Cloud will not only support more efficient daily workflows but make demonstrating compliance far easier. The reports from the program are suitable for Cross Compliance purposes. Farmers can also connect to their advisor who are using Gatekeeper Agronomist to get field recommendations sent directly to their phone/computer.
The costs for Gatekeeper Express Cloud to Teagasc clients is discounted in the first three years of use to provide a simple, cost effective and low-risk entry point and get farmers off to a running start.
Farmers who purchase the Gatekeeper Express Cloud software will get intensive supports from Farmplan which include phone, webchat, videos, elearning, etc. To view some of the supports visit https://www.teagasc.ie/crops/crops/crop-recording/
Get more information and advice from the Teagasc Crops team here
Find your local Teagasc office here