Record rainfall in June and July has left cereal fields sodden. The warm, sunny weather required for grain fill seems to have eluded us so far. Sun will be required for the rest of July to complete grain fill; unfortunately to date it has been dull or raining, so expectations are somewhat lower than last year which gave us bumper yields.
The remainder of July will be crucial for all cereal crops. Crops are remaining green and it looks like a late harvest all round. Droughts in other parts of the world have caused grain prices to increase steadily improving the prospects in what may be a year with lower yields.
Fungicide applications reflected the prevailing weather throughout the growing season and crops have remained clean. Some blank grains are visible on the head of the barley; while this is notable most years it seems more prevalent this season due to the continuous rain particularly at flowering. The rest of the grains may compensate and fill better, but this remains to be seen. Improved chemistry, particularly the SDHIs, have proved their worth in a testing season.
Husky winter oats will be the first crop to be cut at the beginning of August. The earliest of the spring barley looks like it won’t be ripe until late August. Winter wheat will also be ready to harvest and this will need to be as early as possible to allow the drilling of the following DK Cabernet.
An application of Roundup Gold (glyphosate) will help to ripen in these crops and improve harvesting. This is also the best opportunity I have to clean up any grass weeds, leaving clean stubbles ahead of the cultivator. This has proved itself over the last few years and fields are virtually grass free. The switch to spring cereals has certainly helped to remove problem grass weeds, such as sterile brome, that has made a notable resurgence in some areas after the mild winter.
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.
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