A recent Tillage Edge podcast featured an overview of the progress made so far this year by farmers in Poland in getting crops planted.
The ongoing crisis in Ukraine has highlighted the importance of Europe as a source of grain and oilseeds for use in Ireland.
Poland is a powerhouse of cereal production in Europe with the country accurately reflecting the state of tillage output across the continent.
Dubliner Tim Bergin is currently farming in northern Poland; he spoke to Teagasc’s head of crop knowledge transfer, Michael Hennessy.
Bergin confirmed that the conflict in Ukraine is having an impact, across the board, on Polish agriculture at the present time.
Fertiliser availability in Poland
He said: “Fertiliser procurement is the big issue at the present time. A lot of the product that would have been originally destined has been impacted by the sanctions placed on Russia.
“In essence, the fertiliser was immediately impounded as soon as it arrived at an EU port.
“Fertiliser markets had started to ease a little bit. But the decision by Russia to cut off natural gas supplies to Poland will, no doubt, send prices rocketing back up again.”
Bergin farms 1,000km from Poland’s border with Ukraine. While he managed to get all the fertiliser required for the farming businesses this year, a lack of rain in has forced a change in the nitrogen application methods used.
He continued: “We still have around one third of the nitrogen to put out on crops. But due to the lack of rain over recent weeks, the decision was taken to put a portion of the fertiliser out in liquid form.
“We are applying 30kg/ha of liquid nitrogen at the moment.”
Bergin grows a large acreage of wheat that is destined for the bread market.
“Basically we are seeking to produce high protein winter wheats. Our fertiliser policy for these crops is centred on a 180kg/ha application of nitrogen,” he said.
“Of this 150kg is applied prior to the first node stage; the remainder is spread at head emergence.”
Bergin also grows a significant acreage of oilseed rape. These crops receive an average of 220kg/ha of nitrogen. However, only 140kg of N has been applied up to this point.
“I am not even sure if we will spread any more fertiliser on these crops because there is no rain in the forecast,” he confirmed.
“Crops are extremely slow in developing this year. Our rape, for example, is only starting to flower now.”