Our Organisation Search
Quick Links
Toggle: Topics

Tillage Update 1st July 2021

In general, most farmers are reasonably satisfied with their crops in southern counties, but there are exceptions. Ciaran Collins, Crops Specialist, gives an update on the progress on crops in the south including growing wheat concerns, variability of spring barley plus oilseed rape prospects

In general, most farmers are reasonably satisfied with their crops in southern counties, but there are some exceptions. Yield potential in winter cereals looks reasonably good but the unknowns are what impact ramularia and blind grains will have on final yield in winter barley and how much septoria will hit yield in wheat. Spring barley is mixed. The wet weather in May has left its mark on spring barley and compacted headlands and wetter fields never recovered. 

Winter barley

Winter barley is well into grain fill but the most notable feature is the level of ramularia in crops. Varieties with poor resistance to ramularia like Valerie and Pixel showed symptoms first but ramularia is visible in all varieties now. Its impact on yield is difficult to gauge as some appeared recently but where it has been in crops for a few weeks it will reduce yield as green leaf area has been reduced.

The impact of blind grains caused by late frosts is another difficult one to assess. Barley does not have the ability to compensate with a higher grain weight like wheat so when we reduce the number of grains per unit area, we reduce yield.

Winter wheat

Septoria is the big story in wheat. There is great concern amongst growers and advisors as to the future of growing wheat in some southern areas. Some growers still have three green leaves while others are starting to see septoria creep up on the flag leaf. There is no forgiveness for a weak variety, early sowing or a mistimed fungicide. Most growers used the ‘new fungicides’ but it is staggering to see the difference in results. Late sown crops (late October/early November) are cleaner and have excellent yield potential.


Both winter and spring oats have stayed relatively disease free this season and currently have good yield potential. The majority of oats in the south is spring sown and the frost damage in winter crops is limited to small areas.

Spring barley

The real variability is in spring barley. Most crops established well and plant numbers are good but wet weather in May hit fields with compacted headlands and wetter areas. Disease levels are low but rhynchosporium was a challenge in Gangway and RGT Planet due to their poor resistance. Wet weather delayed first fungicides and this was a contributing factor. Ramularia has started to creep into some crops in recent days.

Spring Beans

Spring beans have good potential but they are a long way from home. Good establishment and adequate moisture to date is a positive. Chocolate spot is present in many crops but fungicides have done a reasonable job.

Oilseed rape

The first of this year’s winter oilseed rape crops will be ready for desiccation in the next week and looks to have good yield potential.

Read more here from Teagasc on Cereal Crops 

The Teagasc Tillage Crop Specialists issue an article on a topic of interest to Tillage farmers every Thursday here on Teagasc Daily