In the latest harvest update, in many areas, most crops are now harvested with the dry weather making conditions for cutting and baling ideal.

Crops like spring beans and spring oilseed rape are still a few weeks away yet, but almost everything else should be harvested by the middle of the month, according to Teagasc.

Teagasc tillage specialist Shay Phelan commented: “Yields are reported to be above average even at low moistures.

“In fact, most barley and wheat crops are being harvested at this stage below 15% moisture, so a minimum amount of drying will be required.

“It’s still a bit early to start sowing oilseed rape. But many growers will be tempted over the coming days.”

Outlook after harvest

Looking ahead, Phelan confirmed that almost 30,000ha of cover crops are grown in Ireland ever year.

Some are grown as part of the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) scheme, while others are grown for soil improvement, and others are grown to feed livestock.

“No matter what their end use, to get the maximum amount of benefit from them, there are a couple of tips that farmers should follow,” Phelan continued.

“The GLAS scheme contains a lot of brassica species, which can have an impact on disease levels if oilseed rape is in the rotation. We have seen quite a bit of clubroot in 2022.

“Cover crops should be sown in mid-August to capture the maximum of nutrients and growth.

“Minimum cultivation techniques should be used with rolling to follow in order to maximise establishment.

“If cover crops are to be grazed, a source of supplementary roughage should be placed in the field directly after drilling. This this will save farmers bringing it in during wet conditions.

“Some cover crops mixes can be expensive. Cultivating too deep will also add to the cost,” he explained.


Teagasc Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advisory Programme (ASSAP) advisor Fiona Doolan confirmed that nitrate is extremely mobile in tillage soils.

She explained that, during periods of rainfall, nitrate will leach down into groundwater, if there is no actively growing crop in place to capture it.

“Nitrate has a very harmful effect on water quality,” said Doolan.

“In a tillage system, it is the period directly after harvest, when fields are fallow, that we have the greatest risk of nitrate loss.

“Catch crops grown directly after harvest will create a demand for nitrate, rather than allowing it to be lost from the soil. A well established catch crop can trap up to 80kgN/ha.

“Any catch crop is better than fallow ground when it comes to the prevention of nitrate leaching.”