IN FOCUS: Co Louth tillage farmer John McGuiness has told AgriLand that the 2013 harvest is now complete in his area. 

“We just got the spring beans in last Saturday and that was the harvest done for 2013,” he said. McGuiness was delighted with the weather during the harvest saying “it was very easy work wise”. However yields were not what he had hoped for, especially where winter wheat crops were concerned.

In terms of yields, McGuiness said that “winter wheat averaged about 3.8t/ac with some of the crop sown in better conditions archiving as high as 4.5t/ac”. He said while the yield was up on last year’s poor returns, it was not what it should have been. Winter barley was a similar story, according to McGuiness, with yields in the region off 3.6t/ac. Rapeseed and spring oats yields were 1.2t/ac and 3.1t/ac respectively.

He went on to suggest that ground conditions at sowing last autumn were more than likely the main reason behind this, but the drought during the summer could well have had an effect. He also said that he suspected that the performance of some of their disease and pest prevention products may not have performed as well as they should have.

McGuiness also grows rapeseed and he noted that winter rape “performed poorly” this year. He said that almost everything that could have gone wrong with the crop last year did go wrong.

“The crop went in late, in poor soil conditions and came under attack from all angles during the growing season.”

Winter cereal sowing on the farm is now in full swing and McGuiness said that crop establishment conditions “are perfect”.He also noted the weather difference between this year and 2012 saying: “We got the winter herbicide spraying done, which we were unable to do last year”. John went on to say that “soil temperatures are, on average, 4 degrees higher this autumn than last year, which makes a huge difference.”

By Ciaran Moran