The wet summer has somehow lingered on into the autumn and is making winter drilling difficult. Some of the winter wheat acreage has been sown, but the remainder of this crop and the winter oats may yet prove difficult if the unsettled weather continues. The window of opportunity remains open until early November, so it’s early days yet. If suitable conditions arise, any remaining drilling will be completed to keep the rotation on track.
Husky oats is a spring variety; if drilling proves impossible, there is option of of drilling in the spring instead. This option fits in conveniently with spring barley drilling and harvesting. Spring oats can be drilled after the barley and consequently be harvested after the barley helping to spread the harvest workload.
A sub-soiler has been a necessary addition to the cultivation armoury. Deep-rutted tramlines needed deep ripping to get surface water to drain away and allow soils to dry sufficiently to allow cultivations for the preceding crop to take place.
This machine will also be used to undo harvest damage when suitable conditions present themselves. Calcium lime has also been spread to raise pH and help lower high magnesium levels. Calcium flocculates the soil and improves drainage as water is allowed to pass through to subsoil. High magnesium tightens the soil, making them slower to dry out.
A combination of a late harvest and wet soils meant that no cover crops were sown apart from a trial cover crop mixture for evaluation for sowing next harvest on land destined for spring cropping.
Unfortunately, this will be my last Farmer Focus contribution. I wrote my first article in 2008 and a lot has changed in the industry in the preceding years. I have been privileged to meet and make contact with so many different people through this opportunity. I would like to thank you all for your views, assistance and support and wish every one the best for the future.
Philip Reck manages 1,050ha of light to medium loams within 20 miles of Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, Ireland. Cropping is cereals and oilseed rape, all min-till established