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Tillage Newsletter - April 2022

06 April 2022
Type Newsletter

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In this month's edition:

  • Rising costs
    The uncertainty of grain prices, fertiliser costs and availability, and the cost of diesel have many tillage farmers scratching their heads as to what to do with crops for the season. Many farmers have forward-bought fertiliser and have been insulated from the worst impacts of the recent increases; however, from a survey carried out by Teagasc last month it was seen that a significant number of farmers have been left exposed.
  • Spring crops
    Complete sowing of wheat, oats and beans as soon as possible if not already completed, while there is still plenty of time to sow barley. Increase barley seed rate as you drill later into April and aim to sow approximately 350 seeds to establish 300 plants.
  • Winter wheat
    • Nitrogen
      Complete the main N application before GS32. This generally equates to half the total amount of N for the crop if a three-split programme is being used and is typically in the range of 100-125kg/ha (80-100 units/ac); however, this may well be slightly lower this year and will depend on the BER.
    • PGR
      Apply a plant growth regulator (PGR) by the first node (GS31).
    • Fungicide
      Leaf 4 spray (T0): so far there have been few reports of yellow rust and so the justification for a leaf 4 spray must be questioned this year.
      Leaf 3 spray (T1): apply when third last leaf is fully emerged.
  • Winter barley
    April is the month where winter barley crops develop the fastest and demand for nutrition is at its highest.
    • Nitrogen
      Again depending on the total amount you intend to apply, make sure that you apply the last split before GS32, as barley does not use late N efficiently and needs its N working before you see the flag leaf.
    • Fungicide
      The decision to use a two- or a three-spray strategy will depend on the variety and location.
    • PGR
      Aim to apply a PGR on two-row varieties between GS32 and GS37 for effective shortening, e.g., Terpal 1.2-1.5L/ha, Cerone 0.5-0.7L/ha, Meddax Max 0.3-0.5kg/ha.
  • Winter oats
    Winter oats have been very advanced all year because of the relatively mild weather, with most crops around GS30 and heading for GS31 by April 1.
    • Nitrogen
      All crops should receive their full N by the first node. Do not apply more than 150kg/ha, as this will increase lodging pressure and trials indicate that it will reduce yield and quality.
    • PGR
      While many crops will already have received a PGR, trials show the best growth regulation is achieved when the crop is at the second node (GS32-33).
    • Fungicides
      Disease control should start early with the first signs of mildew and the first two applications generally coincide with PGR applications.