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Tillage Update 3rd March 2022

Winter crops are showing signs of spring growth in the last week where soil temperatures are on average 7 - 8° C in most of the tillage areas. Ciaran Collins Teagasc Crops Specialist has the update on how winter crops of barley, oats, wheat and oilseed rape are progressing at Teagasc Oak Park

Early growth can be seen in winter oilseed rape where the flower buds are starting to rise above the canopy in advanced crops. Winter barley is starting to show to show signs of nitrogen deficiency particularly on light free draining soils and first nitrogen application will be applied when weather conditions are favourable. 

Winter barley

Early sown winter barley is approaching GS 30 but growth is still slow and as a result these crops may stay at GS 30 for a longer than normal period of time. To reduce losses from fertiliser the first split of N should be small (50kg/ha) as crop demand is low but the N,P,K compound may dictate amount applied. Ensure weather conditions at the time of application are good to reduce the risk of losses and Teagasc research has shown that there is no detrimental effect on yield if application is delayed.  

Low levels of BYDV have been reported in winter barley in the south of the country. Currently it is confined to a few early sown crops and the levels are low but it will take an extended period of growth before the true extent of BYDV will be known. Some level of BYDV is not surprising as the autumn/winter has been exceptionally mild and aphids were caught in the suction tower in Cork during December, January and February. Aphid flight did not begin in Cork till May in 2021. Insecticide use will not reduce BYDV at this stage. 

Oak Park. Winter barley (Oct 5) not GS 30 yet

Disease levels in winter barley are low but net blotch and low levels of mildew are evident in places. It is too soon for disease control but crops need to be monitored as tiller death from disease will reduce yield. 

The risk of lodging may be higher this year due to good autumn growth but it is too soon for growth regulation. Successful growth regulation needs actively growing crops so wait till first N is applied and apply PGR to actively growing crops.   

Winter oats 

Winter oats is also approaching GS 30 and mildew is present in crops in sheltered areas. An assessment of lodging risk is important and Teagasc research shows that a split PGR programme at GS 30 and GS 32 will give the best results. Similar to winter barley wait for active growth before applying PGR. 

Oak Park. Winter oats (Oct 18) approaching GS 30

Winter wheat

There are no reports of yellow rust in winter wheat and first nitrogen can be delayed till mid March for most crops, thin or slug damaged crops or crops at risk of take-all will need an earlier N application. 

Oak Park. Winter wheat (Oct 13) tillering

Winter oilseed rape

Winter oilseed rape has grown well over the winter and many crops have GAI > 2. Nitrogen can be delayed on these crops for a few weeks and the total N applied should be reduced. The first crops that require N this season are pigeon grazed crops. Where the GAI is <1.0, apply 60kg/ha N as soon as conditions allow and follow up with a second application in mid March. Refer to Teagasc website for oilseed rape nitrogen calculator and details on canopy management.

Oak Park. WOSR (Sept 7) flower buds visible above canopy

Light leaf spot is evident in many crops and should be treated once found with Proline 0.5L/ha.  

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 DailyFind your local Teagasc office here