Plough away on Saturday…unlikely in many places

Saturday is December 1 and that means tillage farmers can plough ground for spring cropping. Under nitrates regulations farmers must keep a green cover until December 1.

Tillage farmers may now plough or spray this green cover with a non-selective herbicide if they so wish. However, the rainfall warnings this week may put a stop to this in many places.

GLAS cover crops

December 1 also signals open-season for farmers who planted a cover crop under the Green, Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS). These farmers can also begin to graze mixtures that included forage crops on this date.

However, weather will be the deciding factor on whether these crops will be grazed or not and heavy animals should not be put on wet ground.

Crops that won’t be grazed may be topped or controlled in some way before going to seed in order to avoid contamination of future crops.

Heavy rainfall

After all the dry weather of the autumn gone by, most soils are now at field capacity and rainfall warnings this week will have a big impact on these figures. Some parts were hit badly by rain on Tuesday (November 27), while Storm Diana affected more areas on Wednesday (November 28).

Below is the rainfall for November 27, across 10 weather stations.

Data source: Met Eireann

There will always be some farmers on drier ground who will get out early, but be mindful of your soil in unsuitable conditions. Soil is running out and needs to be protected.

For those who can’t get out to the fields it allows maintenance to be carried out. Check your boards and see if parts like points and wings need to be replaced.