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Tillage Newsletter - October 2022

10 October 2022
Type Newsletter

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In this month's edition:

  • Autumn planting
    With autumn drilling already having started, the jury is still out about how much winter barley will be planted in the coming season. On the back of some outstanding yields, the area of winter wheat looks to be fairly secure (as do winter oats), but with many reports of spring barley out yielding its winter counterpart many growers may opt to switch.
    • Variety choice
      In winter barley we are fortunate to have quite a lot of choice between two-row, six-row and six-row hybrids. All have their own advantages and disadvantages. When deciding on a variety, yield is often the deciding factor, but straw strength and the disease resistance profile can often add hidden costs that can be more important than the yield rating.
    • Seed rates
      Take care in calculating your seed rates as thousand grain weights (TGW) will be different this year than in 2021; therefore, seed rates should be adjusted accordingly. Seed assemblers now print the TGW on all lots and bags of seed and this should be consulted when calculating the seed rate for your crops. Soil condition, percentage establishment and time of year should also be taken into account. 
  • Autumn weed control
    Pre-emergence herbicides have been shown to be more effective in controlling many problem grass weeds such as bromes, blackgrass and annual meadow grass. Fortunately, there are choices, so pick a mix that will control the main weeds encountered in each field. Remember it is unlikely that the same mix will cover all the weeds in all fields, so specific knowledge of the predominant weeds is vital for pre-emergence herbicides to work efficiently. 
  • Oilseed rape
    Seed sales figures suggest that there has been an increase in the area of oilseed rape planted again in 2022, with much of it planted early and in ideal conditions. Even in dry conditions, establishment seems good, although there have been reported cases of slug and pigeon damage. Try to get on top these early so that canopies will be big enough to reduce grazing later in the season and hopefully, fertiliser costs.
  • Farm records and Gatekeeper
    At the recent Teagasc Crops Forum a new partnership was launched where Teagasc has teamed up with Farmplan to provide a crop recording software package called Gatekeeper Express+ for Teagasc clients to record their farm records digitally on a simple-to-use cloud platform.
  • Health and safety - Winter and well-being
    Get ready for the winter. With animals returning indoors the yard will become very busy. It is important to check that your safety electrical switches or residual current devices (RCD) are working correctly. Check that farmyard lighting is adequate, as poor lighting is associated with farm accidents.