Farmer Focus: Big improvement in Philip Reck’s crops

Crops have improved dramatically over the past month and look increasingly promising after a slow start. But plantings are estimated to be down 20%. So, with yield expectations modest after a difficult growing season, I hope this will lead to increased domestic demand for grain.

Fodder supplies are back considerably, which will create demand for straw to supplement silage in rations. Prices remain high, which should boost overall income.

Spring barley has received its final spray of the Acorn Barley Gold Pack (epoxiconazole + pyraclostrobin + boscalid + fenpropimorph) plus Bravo (chlorothalonil). Last year it performed well in difficult conditions.

Thankfully, spraying was completed before the weather broke and it has been unsettled since.

Saffron winter barley is beginning to turn, but will be later to harvest than usual this year. The crop has stood up well to the downpours and thunderstorms of the past few weeks and should be cut by the last week of July.

Irish agriculture is coming under increasing pressure as commodity prices tumble. This have been well highlighted in the media and demonstrations have reinforced the problems faced by farmers.

They only wish to receive a fair price for their produce. But it is becoming evident that falling prices are having a detrimental effect on incomes, investments mean farmers are under increased financial strain and many enterprises are losing money.

Cropping decisions for the autumn will be difficult after last year’s wet autumn.

Winter wheat will have to follow spring barley as we try to get our rotation back on track.

Winter oats and oilseed rape will complete the planned sowings and the rest of land destined for spring barley will be sown with a cover crop of mustard to help maintain soil condition and prevent the soil from slumping over winter.

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