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Tillage Update on Crop Yields and Stubble Cultivation

As harvest continues around the country there are some very disappointed winter barley growers especially those with earlier sown (and harvested) crops, as yields rarely surpassed 3.5t/ac. Michael Hennessy Head of Teagasc Crops KT suggests why this might be. He also discusses stubble cultivation

Winter barley crop yields

Yields of these crops rarely surpassed 3.5t/ac with most only achieving just above 3.0t/ac. This is disappointing considering the inputs costs of these crops.  Teagasc advisors point to BYDV and take all as the most likely yield robbers however growers who used sub-optional rates of N, P and K are also achieving yields on the lower end of the scale. 

Last weeks Tillage Edge Podcast discusses the harvest to date and the differences between high and low yielding crops. Listen in below.

New Nitrates rules and stubble cultivation

The new Nitrates rules came into force earlier this year with some additional actions for tillage farmers.    The rules state that all tillage ground must be stubble cultivated to establish a green cover no later than 14 days after harvest.  The aim of this is to encourage growth of crop volunteers and weeds so that these plants grow and then mop up excess nitrogen in the soil, so that this nitrogen will not be washed through the soil profile and contaminate rivers. 

This stubble cultivation could also be used to establish a cover or catch crop to produce extra biomass/feed which can be either incorporated or utilised by livestock later in the year.  Cultivation at this time of the year can also have other benefits such encouraging many problematic grass weeds to germinate thus reducing the seed bank, exposing slugs/slug eggs to the dry conditions thus providing some cultural control and also encouraging volunteers growth preventing these seeds as a problem in the next crop (especially in non plough based situations).  There are of course logistical and some agronomic issues with these rules but the Department of Agriculture are actively looking at the text to see if changes/tweaks can be made.    We should know more in early August.

Tillage Edge Podcast

Don’t forget to catch up with Jim McCarthy on this weeks Teagasc Tillage Edge.  Jim gives a very good insight into the harvest conditions not only on his farm in Romania but also in the region in general.  Listen in below.

You might also like to read Tillage Update - Harvest management

Keep up to date with Teagasc Tillage events at https://www.teagasc.ie/tillagemonth/

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.  Find your local Teagasc office here