Heavy infestations of mildew are apparent in a significant number of barley, oat and wheat crops at the present time, according to Teagasc’s Head of Crops Knowledge Transfer Michael Hennessy.

“Where barley is concerned, a three-spray programme is recommended.

“But the problem is very apparent within crops of winter oats. Here, the advice is to hit the problem hard as soon as ground conditions permit.

“The problem is also apparent within wheat crops. But there is not the same pressure to go in with the sprayer at this stage,” Hennessy said.

Where fertiliser applications are concerned, Hennessy said that barley crops should get a dressing of 50kg/ha, again as soon as ground conditions permit.

I know that some growers went out with the fertiliser spreader at the end of January. This was very early.

“However, given the small amounts of rain that we have had over recent weeks, the nitrogen would not have gone to loss.

“Oat crops are very advanced. They, too, need a top dressing of nitrogen. Again 50kg/ha is recommended.

“This could be followed with a similar application in about a fortnight’s time,” he said.

Generally speaking, wheat crops are looking well and may not need nitrogen for a week or so, he added.

However, all crops need P and K now.

Spring Barley Planting

Hennessy confirmed that spring barley planting may well get underway in earnest this week.

“This is certainly the case where ploughing has already taken place.

“Many other growers will want to get on with ploughing as a matter of priority. But this should not happen until such times as ground conditions have improved,” he said.

Meanwhile, winter barley crops in the south Co. Tipperary area are fast approaching Growth Stage 30, according to Teagasc Tillage Advisor, Michael McCarthy.

“A T1 fungicide spray is recommended for such crops, as soon as ground conditions suit.

“Two-row varieties are particularly pre-disposed to mildew and rhyncosporium attack. I am also recommending that a mildewcide should be included in the tank mix,” he said.