Philip Reck prepares spring fertiliser programme

Planting is now completed and all the spring barley was drilled in perfect conditions. The land dried quickly once cultivated and the drilling was nearly all finished in March.

Crops emerged quickly in the warm soils and are really thriving in the spring sunshine. This early drilling will ensure high yield potential, although the crops will all be ripe at the same time. This will keep our two high-capacity combines busy and hopefully the fleet of tri-axle trailers will be able to take away all the barley quickly enough.

Drilled fields resemble a dinner plate and emergence was extremely even and consistent. The Vaderstad Spirit drill did an excellent job in a range of soil types and conditions. It exceeded my expectations and is the ideal drill in our eco-till establishment regime. The single pass of the Vaderstad TopDown cultivator turned the soils to powder and while they did dry sufficiently for drilling they also retained moisture, which has been crucial after March was drier than normal here in Wexford.

I broadcasted the NPK+S compound pre-drilling, supplying the plant with sufficient nitrogen in the seed-bed. With sulphur already applied, the remaining calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN), containing 27% nitrogen, will be top-dressed before the end of April in one split. Weeds are also enjoying the growing conditions and will be treated with Calibre Max (thifensulfuron-methyl + tribenuron-methyl) and Starane (fluroxypyr) to give added control of cleavers.

The continuing volatility in the grain markets will hopefully have eased in time for the forthcoming harvest. While speculators continue to drive oil prices, surely they will return to cereal commodities and give grain prices the boost we would all like to see. This will hopefully coincide with a fall in diesel prices, but I may be asking for too much.


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