Winter sowing begins across the country

Many farmers took out seed drills last week. Drills have been sowing from the counties of Cork to Louth, as dry weather continues to hold up across the country.

After such a dry summer, it is hard to believe that sowing is happening as some crops remain to be harvested. Some late-sown crops of spring barley and spring wheat remained uncut last week, while many crops of spring oilseed rape have yet to be harvested.

The early start to sowing is probably a result of the poor weather last autumn. Farmers are taking to the fields now in case the weather breaks.

Winter cereal acreage is set to increase and this is no doubt related to the drought of the summer gone by and the poor performance from spring crops.

Delayed sowing can have benefits

As October begins, the timing of sowing of winter crops becomes more appropriate and, while it is understandable that farmers wanted to sow in the good conditions that September brought, it is important to remember the benefits of delayed drilling.

Speaking at a Goldcrop technical briefing lately, Teagasc’s Richie Hackett explained that 2004 was “quite a severe take-all year”. He noted that in 2004 yield from crops sown in late-October was much higher, irrespective of whether you used Latitude seed dressing or not.

The weather outlook into early next week is for mainly settled conditions.