Watch: Cutting away in Tipperary as weather holds

James English was among a small number of tillage farmers cutting winter barley on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

The man from Ballylooby, Co. Tipperary, got lucky with the weather. In fact, he was able to start cutting this morning, July 15, as early as 8:30am such were the conditions.

Many other areas of the country were hit with rain for most of the day on Tuesday and showers on Monday.

Belfry was the first variety to get the chop. James grows all six-row hybrids on his farm; Bazooka is his second variety.

He told AgriLand that the crop so far was yielding 3.9t/ac, at an average moisture content of 20%. Quality is excellent with low screenings and a KPH of 66.

Tony O’Gorman captured some of the action for AgriLand in this video (below).

“We started Monday. The straw is very tough. It’s very slow going. We’re cutting away. We were cutting all day yesterday and we’ll be at it today. We started at 8:30am this morning,” James commented.

James has some of his crop sold ahead.

“We dry it all ourselves. It will be sold to Glanbia and to a pig farmer. I have a bit of it forward sold to Glanbia.”

Straw

James has his straw sold, but as he hasn’t anything baled he’s not sure what yields are like. Commenting on demand he said: “The phone is ringing anyway.”

Next up

Winter barley will be on the agenda for the next few days.

“The winter barley for us is the big one and it’s very slow going on the combine as well. You can’t push it on because the straw is not overly ripe.

The oats will be ready as soon as we’re finished winter barley. It might be Tuesday or Wednesday of next week by the time we get to them.

“I have gluten-free oats which I won’t be harvesting myself, but I also have an equine contract with Glanbia so I’ll be harvesting them.”

James has a busy few weeks ahead.

“The oilseed rape won’t be long after that. It all depends on the weather,” he added.

James English opening up a field of Belfry winter barley at Ballytrehy, Ballylooby, Co. Tipperary, on Monday. Image source: Tony O’Gorman

Minimum-tillage

James switched to minimum-tillage about six years ago and now has a focus on break crops and cover crops.

“We’re big into the break crops. About a third of what we’re growing are break crops – between beans, oilseed rape and oats.

Without the break crops I wouldn’t be doing it. They’re my plough.

Three seasons ago James added a [Vaderstad] TopDown to his min-till system and he said that “things have completely changed”.

“As soon as the straw is off the field we will go in with the TopDown straight away. The cover crops go down for the spring crops, but we don’t put cover crops in for the winter crops.”