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Tillage Update - 19th August 2021

In this week's tillage update, Shay Phelan, Teagasc Crops Specialist gives an update on the harvest, specifically spring barley and winter wheat. Shay also discusses the straw incorporation measure (SIM) and planting oilseed rape as a break crop. Listen to the latest Tillage Edge podcast.

Harvest Progress

The broken weather has led to a stop/start harvest with crops being curt between the showers. Spring barley progress is good with over 50% of the crop harvested in some regions (South & East), crops in the north east and north west are only now coming ripe and will be harvested in coming days. Quality for the most part is quite good with most crops destined for malting achieving the specifications.

Most of the winter wheat crop still has to be harvested across the country but early indications are that yields are above average with some reports of crop in excess of 12.5 tonnes per hectare (5 T/ac) being achieved. Moistures are around the 20% mark and bushels are in the range of 72 -78.

Straw demand seems to be steady as yields are above average for anything cut so far. Prices are a little bit above average with fields being cleared quite quickly where it is baled up immediately behind the harvester. However where straw has been lying on the ground for a few days this is proving difficult to bale up especially for big square bales.

Straw incorporation measure

Most of the winter oat crop is now harvested and much of the straw was destined for the straw incorporation measure (SIM). These fields now need to be shallow cultivated in accordance with the scheme rules, fortunately there has been ample opportunities for most growers to get this work done due to the broken weather. Where this has yet to be done it should be completed as soon as possible.

Oilseed rape

Oilseed rape is a good break crops with the yields achieved combined with the prices achieved making it as profitable as many cereal crops this year. It also offers alternative chemistry to control grass weeds, while also giving fields a break from cereal diseases. Ideally oilseed rape should be drilled in the final few days of August to facilitate early establishment and good growth before the winter sets in. Conventional or hybrid varieties can be drilled in August but once you get into September then only hybrid varieties are suitable. Teagasc trials have shown that there is no benefit of sowing in excess of 50 seeds/m2

From a weed control point of view pre-emergence applications of Katamaran Turbo normally give good weed control depending on the weed spectrum but this can always be topped up with post emergence herbicides for some troublesome weeds. Volunteer cereals can be controlled by the different graminicide herbicides that are available, these can often be a problem and should be controlled in September.

The Tillage Edge Podcast

On this week’s Tillage Edge Podcast Shay Phelan talks to three advisors around the country for the latest on the harvest.

Broken weather over the last few weeks has slowed down the progress of the harvest so Shay spoke to Conor Kavanagh in Tipperary, Ciaran Hickey in Enniscorthy and John Brophy in Louth to get a view from their areas.

While the harvest has been a stop-start affair so far, some of the highlights according to the three advisers has been above-average yields, good quality grain, low proteins in malting barley and a good demand for straw.

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