The beans are up and have beaten the crows

Irish Independent - Farming - - OUR FARM - HE­LEN HAR­RIS

AT last we have the sow­ing fin­ished.

In a nor­mal year I would say bet­ter late than never, but given it ran this late, I will wait and see when har­vest comes to find out if I made the cor­rect de­ci­sion on when to pro­ceed.

The beans are up and the fine weather has helped them get away, be­fore the crows had a chance to do any dam­age. I have heard of beans go­ing in as late as last week.

I don’t know if the to­tal acreage of the coun­try will be back on last year, as has been sug­gested.

Plenty of farm­ers seem to think that the pro­tein pay­ment will make up for the loss in yield by sow­ing them late.

Again we will have to see if this is worth the risk.

It may be the last year of the pro­tein pay­ment so it will be in­ter­est­ing to see the dif­fer­ence in next year’s acreage.

Tea­gasc will tell you that it is a loss leader, and with­out the pro­tein pay­ment it is not worth grow­ing, un­less you can take that fi­nan­cial hit.

So far on the plant it­self, we have no notch­ing on the leaves from the bean wee­vil, but we are keep­ing a close eye on it.

The spring bar­ley was put in dur­ing the fine weather and sow­ing with dust be­hind the drill, was a lovely sight.

We went with Mickel and Gang­way spring bar­ley and went slightly higher in our seed­ing rate to nor­mal at 13st per acre.

The worry with up­ping the seed­ing rate of spring bar­ley is the higher risk of lodg­ing. Also, the later the sow­ing date, the higher risk of BYDV (bar­ley yellow dwarf virus).

In gen­eral it was sown in good con­di­tions and the fields had dried up a huge amount in those few fine days.

We got it all rolled and when we put the drill away we were just com­ment­ing that it won’t get much of a rest this year, as we will have it out again in three months’ time to get the oil seed rape sown in Au­gust.

It was our first year of us­ing the di­rect drill for all our spring crops and it will be in­ter­est­ing to see if we no­tice any dif­fer­ence.

It was a tough first year to have changed from the plough, but its all in now so we can only wait and see.

I do think that the dou­ble hop­per is a great idea.

Be­ing able to place fer­tiliser down the spout with the seed should re­ally help the spring bar­ley, spring oil seed rape and par­tic­u­larly the beans get go­ing.

When the soil warmed up and the plant wanted to grow the fer­tiliser was sit­ting there be­side it in the soil.

The spring oil seed rape va­ri­ety we went with this year is a hy­brid Mi­rakel.

It’s mar­keted as a good va­ri­ety for the Ir­ish cli­mate and is less re­sis­tant to lodg­ing.

It went in at 3.83kg per ha and four bags of 10.7.25 + 4S at the same time.

The ground we sowed was very com­pacted so even though we have the di­rect drill we ploughed it first and then di­rect drilled with the Clay­don drill.

The next worry we have is get­ting on top of the wild oats and brome prob­lem in a cou­ple of spots.

One field seems to have a par­tic­u­larly bad patch of wild oats for no rea­son.

The straw wasn’t chopped, which can be blamed for spread­ing seeds, but this field was baled and di­rect drilled.

When the plants be­come ob­vi­ous it was a bit of a puz­zle as to why they have ap­peared, where they are. One the­ory is that they could be­come more re­sis­tant to some of the chem­i­cals we have pre­vi­ously used.

We are go­ing to try and change this year to Broad­way Star to see if the dif­fer­ent chem­istry can con­trol the wild oats and brome.

These are the two main weeds that need con­trol­ling, luck­ily we don’t have any black grass, yet.

Spray­ing

Now that we have all the sow­ing done, its time to con­cen­trate on the spray pro­gram and keep a very close eye on all the crops for dis­eases and rusts.

If the crops get a burst of soft growth in good weather, it can make the plant weaker and slightly more vul­ner­a­ble.

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