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Tillage Newsletter - October 2023

09 October 2023
Type Newsletter

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In this month's edition:

  • Autumn planting
    With the 2023 harvest now confined to memory except for a few late crops, attention has turned to planting winter crops. September weather has delayed the progress of many of the early drillers so some of the larger growers or those using reduced cultivation systems are already playing catch-up.
    • Variety choice
      Looking at the recently published recommended lists, there are a few points to note. In winter barley, there is plenty of choice between two-row, six-row and six-row hybrids, all with 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
      Grain quality was a significant problem in many crops harvested in 2023, so expect the TGW to be different to last year. Be aware that there will be variations between different batches, so adjust seed rates accordingly.
  • 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 plenty of options, so pick a mix that will control the main weeds in each field. Remember, it is unlikely that the same mix will cover all the weeds in fields, so specific knowledge of the predominant weeds is vital for pre-emergence herbicides to work efficiently. If in doubt, ask your local Teagasc advisor for details of what herbicides are best suited to the weeds you need to control and use this as the base of your programme.
  • Winter oilseed rape
    Given the delay at harvest, chances to drill oilseed rape were more limited this year, so we expect the overall area to decline somewhat from last year. Reports of slug damage are more frequent this year so be alert. If there is any sign of grazing apply slug pellets, especially to late-sown crops, which will be at more risk.
  • Machinery sharing template
    Many tillage farmers will often attend machinery demos or the National Ploughing Championships to look at new machinery before they decide to invest. This year, with poor returns from the harvest, many will not be able to afford to purchase new/second-hand machinery.