We are again facing into a later spring than we would have expected, as the weather has taken a turn for the worse with plenty of rain falling. But unlike this time last year a lot of land has already been ploughed or cultivated and winter crops are looking a lot better this year, due to the mild and dry winter we experienced.
Farmers will be now making plans as to what varieties to sow and choose the best balanced compound fertiliser blend to match the crops requirements, based on soil samples and the take-off from last year’s crop. It is paramount not to forget to lime, even if we are in a low margin situation, it would be a total false economy not to have applied lime where it is required.
Varieties for this spring
The key spring barley varieties available will be Kws Irina, Mickle, Sanette, and RGT Planet. They are the 4 highest yielding varieties on the recommended list with RGT Planet (provisionally recommended) just coming out on top with a yield of 105, which will make it a popular choice with growers. KWS Irina has come in second, with a relative yield of 103.
From our experience last year, growers need to be careful where they place RGT Planet in the rotation and also how much Nitrogen they apply as its one weak link is on straw strength from both a lodging and breakdown viewpoint. I think it will also suit the variety to be planted as early as possible; early March to first week in April. Mickle is the shortest strawed variety and has the best quality grain, leading the way on KPH compared to the rest, so this will be the variety of choice on fresher ground where fertility levels are higher, leading to higher lodging risk. KWS Irina and Sanette both performed very well last year and are the next shortest varieties on the list after Mickle, coupled with good all round agronomic and disease resistance packages.
Spring wheat is a small proportion of the national crop grown but there are some excellent varieties now available with excellent yield potential. We will have C1 available of Quintus this spring which is leading the way in terms of yield at 106 and earliness of ripening of 7, as well as a very good disease package which all leads to an excellent KPH.
Husky will be the variety of choice for spring oat plantings, with excellent disease and straw strength, coupled with a good disease package.
Growers should make their seeding rate decision based on the thousand grain weight which is available for all our seed lots, so don’t hesitate to make an enquiry.
Break Crops Options
The main break crop options will be Spring Beans and Spring Oilseed Rape – worth bearing in mind that the Spring Beans will qualify for the protein bonus available through the area aid payment. Both Spring Beans and Spring Oilseed Rape should be given careful consideration especially on land that has been growing continuous cereals for a number of years and didn’t perform well last year. If thinking of growing either of these crops please to not hesitate to contact any member of the agronomy team to discuss the possibilities of growing either crop.
Other crops that there seems to be more interest in this year are Maize and Fodder Beet due in no small part to the rising numbers in the Irish dairy herd. There are opportunities for tillage farmers to grow these crops for local dairy farms, with good margins available if a fair deal can be struck.
For any queries on break cropping options, please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Connolly’s Red Mills agronomy team to discuss further.
- Cereal Production