Farmer Focus: Irrigating kit being delivered by the lorry load

It is a very rare occurrence for Northern Ireland to announce a hosepipe ban and – I believe – be the first area of the UK to do so

After I mentioned the good spell of weather we were enjoying in my last piece, I fully expected to be complaining about excess rain.

Instead, many farmers are irrigating crops – potatoes and vegetables in particular – and irrigating equipment is being delivered by the lorry load.

See also: Drip irrigating potatoes promises more crop per drop

We will discover shortly how this dry spell will affect the cereal harvest. Hopefully it will have helped grain fill and bring about a slightly earlier harvest, although we will probably not be cutting here until nearer the end of the month.

Winter barley competition

I recently spent a long but interesting day judging the final of our province-wide winter barley competition.

There were twelve finalists and we were very impressed with the standard of the crops – the top five in particular.

The following week I also judged crops in County Donegal, where the standard was very similar. All these crops should yield very well and are a credit to the farmers.

It is encouraging to see the effort and professionalism put into growing good crops and gives it me optimism for the future of our industry.

I enjoyed my visit to Cereals and thought it worthwhile. I didn’t buy anything, but I have decided to upgrade my seed drill in the hopes of achieving more even crop establishment – something the farmers in the competitions seem to be better at than me.

Safety plea

Finally, a plea to all farmers. In Ireland recently we have had four separate farm fatalities over seven days.

This is tragic for those families and communities and follows a number of other deaths, both north and south, in the past few months.

As we all move into probably our busiest time of year, my plea to all is – please stop and think.