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Tillage Update 11th June

12 June 2020
Type Media Article

Included in the crops update this week is information on support from Teagasc, winter and spring cereals, listen to the latest Tillage Edge Podcast episode focusing on crop inspection and watch videos on disease control advice for potatoes.

The change in weather is welcome for all tillage farmers from Cork to Louth. However it’s too late to recover yields for many crops with spring barley being the hardest hit. There are inevitable consequences for profitability on tillage farms as for the first time in a long while poor yields and poor prices will combine. Straw volumes will also be greatly reduced with half the normal amount expected however given the expected shortage prices will rise.

Support from Teagasc

Teagasc advisors are available to help tillage farmers through this difficult time. It’s often difficult to see what changes may be needed within the farm gate when fully immersed in the business but an outside view from a Teagasc advisor can offer a different perspective and critically help a grower calculate and project cash flows. The farmer will then be in a better position to respond to payment commitments in the coming months. Don’t hesitate to call the local Teagasc office for help.

Winter Cereals

Winter barley crops are ripening prematurely due to moisture stress in the eastern part of the country. Further south crops are green and healthy with good yield prospects expected. Winter oats are also suffering moisture stress in the east but many crops appear to be coping reasonably well with the drought conditions. Only time will tell if this translates into yield. Winter wheat final fungicides have been applied to many crops with the later sown and some crops in the south still waiting for the ideal timing. There is very little septoria in crops so this isn’t a worry (but crops in the south should be checked before application). Growers should tailor this final fungicide to expected yields and an application of tebuconazole (e.g. Fathom) should be sufficient. However growers in the south should keep an eye on for wet weather as it increases the risk of fusarium and the inclusion of prothioconazole may be warranted.

Spring cereals

Spring barley crops under moisture stress have headed pre-maturely and have between 400-600 heads per meter squared which is a long way from the ideal of 1,000 plus heads per meter squared. At this stage these crops should have received a fungicide (if warranted). Crops further south are at a more normal stage and many have yet to receive their final fungicide. The main target is ramularia and there is a large choice of products including Ceriax, Priaxor, Decoy, Siltra, etc. Most will be based on prothioconazole plus folpet (Arizona) strategy. Spring wheat final fungicides should be applied at the start of flowering and should receive with a similar final fungicide mix as winter wheat.

Crop inspection

Getting into fields and walking the entire field is essential to get a view of any problems arising such as uncontrolled weeds or areas which didn’t grow well (not explained by dry conditions) On the Teagasc Tillage Edge podcast this week Liz Glynn, from Corteva, chats to Michael Hennessy about broad leaf weed control and herbicide resistance issues in Ireland. Liz said farmers need to ensure all elements are correct to ensure good weed control, the main factors are; weed type, weed size, growing conditions and herbicide type/rate. Where there are correct and poor weed control is observed then herbicide resistance can be considered. 

Liz mentioned resistance weeds such as chickweed were increasingly showing up on farm in the past couple of years. Corteva trials were showing increased resistance in chickweed to SU herbicides but herbicides like fluroxypyr (Starane) control these resistance weeds. The full podcast is available here


Control of potato virus are an important part of seed potatoes production. In the video below Dr. Denis Griffin, Oak Park, a potato breeder in Teagasc Oak Park, gives an update on the newer strains of virus and ways to controlling these viruses.

Blight control is also essential when growing potatoes. In the below video Dr. Stephen Kildea chats through the challenge facing growers and the best ways to control blight.