The latest Tillage Edge podcast features a review of crop performance over the last few months and the current priorities for field work.

Head of crops knowledge transfer with Teagasc, Michael Hennessy, confirmed that winter oilseed rape is now starting to green-up.

“Similarly, winter barley has turned a distinct colour of yellow over the past four or five days. And many growers are now anxious to apply fertiliser,” he stated.

Crop performance and weather

Hennessy went on to highlight how compliant the weather had been throughout the autumn of 2021.  As a result, crops are more advanced than normal.

“But there is no guarantee that such will be the case for the remainder of the year ahead,” he added.

Hennessy was joined by Teagasc crop specialists Shay Phelan and Ciaran Collins.

According to Collins, the winter barley area sown out in Ireland last year was in the region of 65,000ha.

“Oats are slightly up at 15,000ha. The equivalent figure for 2020/21 was around 14,000ha.

“Wheat is probably up a little bit, coming in at around 57,000ha.

“But the big change is in oilseed rape. Approximately 10,000ha of the crop were sown out in 2020. This figure has risen to around 13,000ha for the 2021/22 season.

“Most crops in the south are looking very well at the present time. Growing conditions back in the autumn were exceptional,” Collins continued.

“Establishment was good and we have had a very benign winter. There are very few missing patches in fields and growth has started to take off over recent days.”

Locations of crops

Phelan said that crops in the midlands and north are looking equally robust.

“There were a few crops sown late after potatoes and beet. Some of these might be under a bit of pressure at the present time,” Phelan said.

“But there are not too many gaps, even in those crops; the potential in them is quite good.”

Phelan went on to confirm that a significant number of rape crops had been grazed by pigeons over the past couple of weeks.

“In some cases, this has led to a fair bit of damage,” he explained.

“As a consequence of this, crops that were registering an Green Area Index of 2 have come back to a figure of around 1.5 and in some cases even lower than this.”

“But crops that have not been impacted by pigeons are doing extremely well. In some cases, we are picking up Green Area Index figures of around 3.”