Tillage Newsletter - September 2023
05 September 2023
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In this month's edition:
- Crops Forum 2023
This year’s Crops Forum will address pressing issues for the tillage industry. Topics for discussion will include environment constraints, land access, and income on tillage farms. The Crops Forum will also address the recent Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC) 2023, agronomic advice for autumn 2023, and conclude with an in-depth discussion on measures to drive the tillage industry forward with a panel of industry experts. Farmer contributions to help drive the tillage industry forward are especially welcome.
- Planning for harvest 2024
The stark contrast between the relatively low-input high-output harvest of 2022 and the high-input reduced-output one in 2023 emphasises the vulnerability of tillage farmer income. Reducing risk is critical for 2024.
- Autumn planting
It is always tempting to avail of good weather in September to plant winter cereals but early planting carries risks. Planting winter wheat and barley early (in mid to late September – later further south) generally ensures good seedbeds and favourable temperatures during germination, leading to higher establishment rates.
Early sown crops are at the highest risk from BYDV and yield reductions of 3.7t/ha have been recorded in Teagasc winter barley experiments. Risk increases when early sowing is combined with a coastal location and a mild autumn/winter, as the aphid migration period and overwintering risk both increase.
- Grass weeds
Avoiding the key germination period is a key integrated pest management (IPM) technique. The key germination period for sterile brome and blackgrass is September and tapers off as sowing moves into October.
- Soil sampling
Under the new Nitrates Directive, all tillage farmers are required to take soil tests. In the absence of an up-to-date soil test result, phosphorus (P) is assumed to be index 4 (no P allowance). Now is the ideal time to identify fields on the farm that require fresh soil samples.
Soil test results will provide recommended rates of lime to correct soil pH to the optimum pH 6.5 for a cereal crop rotation. Where crops such as oilseeds, beans or beet are part of the rotation, target pH 6.8.
- Cereal crop P and K requirements
Winter cereals have a demand for P and K, which ensures that crops are well established in terms of rooting and tiller development entering the winter period. Index 3 soils will have a good supply of P and K for crop establishment; therefore, omit P and K applications until spring.
- Health and Safety - Deadline for National Farm Safety Measure: September 29
If you need new power take-off (PTO) shaft covers or ATV helmets, don’t miss out on funding from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) to cover 60% of the eligible cost. The measure will cover up to two quad bike/ATV helmets and four PTO shaft covers.