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Tillage Update - 24th September

Ciaran Collins, Teagasc Crops Specialist, highlights how the adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices this autumn can contribute to more profitable winter cereals. Ciaran advises on winter barley seeding rates and the application of Phosphorus and Potassium to winter cereals

The winter cereal area is expected to return to normal this year. Adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices; where cultural control techniques are foremost in the decision making process is a critical component of achieving profitable autumn sown cereals. BYDV, disease, lodging and grass weeds can significantly reduce yield and the adoption of IPM practices can considerably reduce their impact. 

Planting date is a crucial IPM factor and farmers should delay sowing till October on land that has grass weed problems or a history of BYDV to reduce risk.

Variety selection is central to any IPM plan where disease and straw characteristics are more important than top line yield. Selection of varieties from the DAFM recommended list ensures that reliable data is available for the grower.

Seed rate will depend on the sowing conditions, thousand grain weight (TGW), date of sowing and the likelihood of pest damage. Beware of large variations in TGW especially in winter barley.

WBarley Oct seed rate table

Plan for pre-emergence weed control where annual meadow grass is expected especially in winter barley with products containing Pendimethalin (Flight, Stomp Aqua), Chlorotoluron (Tower), Flufenacet (Firebird), and Prosulfocarb (Defy). Winter barley should be avoided in fields where brome species are present as there are no reliable control options.

The Tillage Edge Podcast

In this week’s Tillage Edge podcast Michael Hennessy spoke to Martin Bourke and Jimmy Staples about weed control in winter cereals. They discussed the rationale of selecting pre emergence or post emergence herbicide options and also warn farmers about the consequences of blackgrass.

Autumn Phosphorus and Potassium application

Building soil P and K fertility takes time depending on the soil type.  On low fertility soils (Index 1 or 2) consider the application of P and K as either chemical fertilisers or organic manures.  Cereal crop phosphorus  (P) applications of 20 and 10kg P/ha to index 1 or 2 soils can be made up until the 31st October provided that the P is either soil incorporated or placed at sowing time.  There are no restrictions on the application of potassium (K).  Consider a 0-10-20 / 07-30 to supply P and K build-up this autumn on cereal crops. 

In the video below Mark Plunkett and John Pettit from Teagasc discuss autumn fertiliser application where trial work by Teagasc has shown that an index 2 soil for phosphorus can produce an additional 1.75t/ha in grain yield over an index 1 soil. https://www.teagasc.ie/crops/soil--soil-fertility/