Tillage Update July 23rd
To date this year the harvest can be best described as mixed running from good yields of over 4 tons per acre in Cork down to as low as 2 tons per acre in the dryer ground in the south east but also in the later planted crops in the North East. There is some secondary growth in spring barley.
The broken weather this week has slowed harvest progress. Winter barley is the main crop harvested so far, with approximately 20% harvested in Cork and closer to 50% harvested around Carlow/Kildare/Laois. Harvest has started in the north east but it really only got going in the last few days. Results from the harvest can be best described as mixed running from good yields of over 4 tons per acre in Cork down to as low as 2 tons to per acre in the dryer ground in the south east but also in in the later planted crops in the North East. Generally crops have been harvested in dry conditions with moistures of below 15% in many instances. Grain quality looks reasonably good with most in around 64 kph up to 70 kph.
There is quite a bit of straw still on the ground but reports from across the country are that straw volumes are reduced by up to 25% in the south, to 50% in most of the rest of the country. The quality of the straw seems reasonable however crops are shorter this year than other years.
Winter oilseed rape harvest has begun in the dryer parts of the country however there are no yields available as yet. Winter oats are close to harvest in the south east where as further south harvest is at least 10 days away. There is a more in-depth report about the harvest on this week's Tillage Edge podcast here
Spring barley and secondary growth
The variability in spring crops as a result of the drought this year has deteriorated further with secondary growth of new shoots in most crops. Careful assessment on a field by field basis is required to assess the best course of action. The best time to assess these crops is when the main bulk of the grain is at a moisture content of about 30%. Where the secondary shoots are at late grain filling stage, then these will ripen quickly and can be harvested with the main crop without any huge problem. However this will delay the harvest of the entire crop by about 5 to 7 days. Where the secondary growth is much later developing and there is little or no grain in the heads then these shoots will pose a problem if harvested by a combine. If secondary shoots represent almost all of what's in that area it may be best to avoid this area altogether at harvest and reassess these areas in a number of weeks to see if combining at that stage would be an option. Other choices may be to wholecrop for animal feed. Other than that crop desiccation may also be considered however this should only be done in consultation with your farm advisor.