Teagasc tillage specialist, Shay Phelan has confirmed that some winter barley crops have experienced a degree of lodging with the return of wet and blustery conditions.

Phelan said: “The rain was badly needed. The earliest barleys are about a month off harvest.

“Crops are at their heaviest right now. Over the coming weeks, leaves will start to drop off plants as crops start to mature.”

Turning to spring barley, the Teagasc representative is strongly urging to walk individual fields as a matter of some priority. This reflects the wide breadth of stress factors impacting on crops at the present time  

“Depending on planting date, some crops will require their final fungicide spray over the coming days. This year’s spring barley crops have a wide range with many planted out in late April and into May,” he added.

Significantly, Phelan is not recommending the blanket use of plant growth promoters (PGRs) at this stage.

“Many growers applied a PGR after planting to encourage tillering. However, most spring barleys will have quite a short straw length this year. So the risk of them lodging reduces accordingly.

“The one exception might be spring crops that have very high plant counts.”

Winter barley

Yellowing of spring barley crops has been an issue in many areas of the country. This is particularly so in the case of crops, which were drilled into challenging seed beds.

The tillage specialist explained: “A number of growers will want to apply foliar trace elements to these crops.

“So, it’s a case of ensuring that a high quality product is applied. Single source trace element applications are available. For the most part, they can be easily included within a tank mix.”

Turning to potatoes, Phelan has confirmed Teagasc’s participation in the upcoming potato blight advisory workshops, to be hosted by the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) in Northern Ireland next week.

He will be in attendance at the meeting planned for Limavady on Monday, June 17.

Both events will highlight the challenge of new potato blight variants and the measures that can be taken by growers to deal with this threat.

The workshops aim to update growers on the problem, identify good integrated pest management controls and spray application practices effective in controlling the disease.

Discussion will also centre on the most effective strategies when compiling a fungicide programme to protect against blight and protect the long-term efficacy of blight fungicides.