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Tillage Update 18th November 2021

Above normal temperatures in most areas during the month of November has resulted in cereal crops continuing to grow quite rapidly. Shay Phelan, Teagasc Crops & Potato specialist has advice on watching out for diseases as a result and suggests completing profit monitor records now

Crop management

Above normal temperatures in most areas during the month of November has resulted in cereal crops continuing to grow quite rapidly and they are dense and more forward than would normally be the case at this time of year. We have seen this before however when crops are this advanced in mild conditions and diseases start to appear, this year net blotch is evident in many barley crops and this will have to be closely monitored during the early spring. Treatment at this time of year or early in the new year will not pay as these leaves will not contribute to yield. Continue to monitor crops for pest damage such as slugs but again in most cases there are enough tillers and leaves to survive most attacks.

Oilseed rape crops are also very forward and in many cases quite tall, this should help to ensure that pigeon grazing should be limited but where they start to graze every effort must be made over the coming months to scare them off as they will take valuable nitrogen which is stored in the leaves with them. Some crops are still to receive a herbicide for weed control, so inspect the crop first and establish how much contact the herbicide will have with the weeds before applying. If the canopy is preventing the herbicide hitting the weeds or soil there isn’t much point in applying it. 

Farm Performance and Forward Selling

With the days closing in, now is a good time to complete the records for 2021. These can be a valuable source of information for determining crop and farm performance in the past but crucially they are also a vital tool in planning for the future. The Teagasc eProfit Monitor (€PM) or the ecrops are very useful tools to help you to do this. Contact your local tillage advisor for details.

Many companies are offering grain prices for harvest 2022 but it is not until you sit down to do your own costs of production and calculate your average yields, that you can decide whether or not the prices on offer at the moment represent good value or not. Crucial to the decision to forward sell or not is the impact of the increases in input costs especially fertiliser costs on the final margin. In many cases the increased prices on offer from this time last year will go some way to alleviating the costs, but again you won’t know by how much until you sit down and do the figures.

If you do decide that you can make a profit by selling grain at the prices on offer, don’t worry about what happens grain prices afterwards, if the price rises you will make even more profit but if it drops you already have locked in some grain at a profit. There is an old saying “sell at a profit and you will never make a loss”. Be careful not to lock in too much as you don’t want to be over extended yourself just in case yields or quality are not as good in 2022 as they were in this year, work off your 5 year average yields and sell a proportion of that. 

The Tillage Edge Podcast

John Crowley, a tillage farmer in Wexford, has been working closely with Teagasc to improve his profitability in the past few years as part of the Teagasc/Boortmalt Joint Programme, and he joins Michael Hennessy on this week’s Tillage Edge podcast.

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


If you liked this article you may also be interested in the November Tillage Newsletter
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