A Co. Down cereal grower has confirmed that Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV) has caused problems within his 2021/22 winter barley acreage.
Allan Chambers told Agriland:
“The barley in question was sown out last September. The BYDV issue has only become apparent over the last week or so.
“It’s not that big of an issue. But it has taken a bit of the shine off a crop that was looking tremendously well up to this point.”
Allan sprayed the crop with an insecticide shortly after emergence.
“This is a very hit-and-miss way of controlling the problem,” he commented.
“The weather was very mild throughout all of last autumn. And it was very hard to predict aphid numbers on a daily basis.
“Previously, it would have been possible to have seed dressed to prevent BYDV from being an issue in the first place. But this option is no longer available.”
Co. Down barley and wheat
Allan grows 270ac winter and spring crops; 90ac of winter barley; 90ac of winter wheat; and 90ac of forage maize.
“All the crops are looking tremendously well at the present time,” he confirmed.
“The barley has received all of its nitrogen with the wheat set to receive its final dressing next week.
“I believe in a ‘little and often’ approach when it comes to applying fertiliser on cereal crops with four splits now the order of the day.”
Alan is reporting that fungal diseases within his cereal crops are at very low levels.
“This is a direct consequence of the very dry weather that has been a feature of recent weeks.
“So, it has been very much a case of getting on with our normal spraying programme with disease prevention very much in mind.”
Fortunately, Allan had a proportion of this year’s fertiliser requirement in store, prior to the recent price hikes taking effect.
“I have a long-standing relationship with my fertiliser supplier and, as chance would have it, was given the opportunity of sourcing a load or two of product before the very extreme price rises took effect,” he explained.
“On that basis, the scope to generate a good margin from the cereal crops this year is significant.
“But even had I bought fertiliser at the top of the market, I still would have the opportunity of making an average margin from my crops, given the projected price of grain.
“I won’t compromise on fertiliser usage, particularly if it is going on to a very healthy crop.”
Allan was able to get his maize crop for 2022 into the grounds in Co. Down abut a fortnight ago.
“I have access to chicken litter, which is the only fertiliser used on the forage maize. So far, everything is going according to plan,” he explained.