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Tillage Update - 16th December 2021

Shay Phelan, Teagasc Tillage Specialist brings us this week's Tillage Update. He has advice on winter oilseed rape, fertiliser planning and he highlights this week's Tillage Edge podcast with Signpost farmer Tom Tierney in Kildare on his direct drill system.

Winter Oilseed Rape

Most crops are very advanced for this time of year however anyone who applied a fungicide with a growth regulator has seen fairly dramatic reduction in the canopy. While this is good overall for the crop there is the danger that pigeons will now be able to land in these crops and start grazing, this is evident in crops already so every effort should be made in the coming months to deter them. Remember they are taking nitrogen away in the leaves which will leave the crop with a higher nitrogen requirement in the spring.

Most crops have had a herbicide applied at this stage but there are still some that are due to get Kerb Flo or Astrokeb, this is still justified on crops with high canopies as the herbicide will make its way down to the soil eventually and control the weeds especially where there are gaps in the canopy. Remember though that the straw from crops that receive Astrokerb cannot be baled after harvest. 

Fertiliser planning

There is some movement in the fertiliser production this week with the announcement that Yara have started production at a number of plants in the UK. This is unlikely to have any effect on prices in the short term, in fact the prices seem to have jumped on average by €10 per tonne in the last fortnight. Now, therefore is a good time to sit down with your agronomist and plan out your requirements for the 2022 season, where soil samples are available use these to guide your plan for next year.

While many growers are considering taking a P&K holiday this year this may not be good practice long term unless your soils are index 3 or 4, otherwise maintenance applications of P&K should applied to avoid crops reducing the indices even further. Remember lime is the cheapest fertiliser available where needed and it will make all the other nutrient more available.

Many fertiliser suppliers are now saying that some of the less popular blends or mixes may not be available so check with your co-op merchant before starting to plan your fertiliser requirements and do up your plan based on the mixes that are available. This may even mean using straight products to balance up the requirements. 

Tillage Edge podcast

This week’s podcast is from Signpost farmer Tom Tierney in Kildare and Ivan Whitten his Teagasc advisor. 

Find out more information and advice from the Teagasc Crops team here. 
The Teagasc Crops Specialists issue an article on a topic of interest to tillage farmers every Thursday on Teagasc Daily