This is the second update from the 2020 crop report in it's new format. As described in the first update there will be new material put up every two to three weeks which include a general update of the crop progress through the country and also more detailed crop management information.
A press release from the The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on Tuesday March 24th stated that it is prepared to consider exempting tillage farmers from the two/three crop requirement under Greening due to the exceptionally wet weather.
A limited exemption to crop diversification was introduced by the Department in January 2020 but due to the exceptional circumstances caused by the recent wet weather, the Department has decided to extend the possible exemption for 2020 to all tillage farmers. Consequently tillage farmers may choose the crop options that best suit the soil conditions and the time of the year. If as a result of these choices a farmer does not comply with the Crop Diversification rules an exemption may be granted.
Farmers who wish to request this exemption may do so as part of their 2020 BPS application, and each such request will be considered by the Department on a case by case basis.
Growth in winter barley crops has picked up in recent days. Growth stages range from GS 22 in late sown crops to GS 30 in some early sown crops. Shoot counts are suboptimal in many crops due to a combination of late sowing and poor growth. Most crops have received their first nitrogen along with phosphorus and potassium. Some of the more advanced crop will require their main nitrogen split in the coming week along with growth regulation if required. Disease levels are low.
Winter wheat crops vary considerably in their growth stages depending on location and sowing date. Some of the early sown crops are mid tillering GS 23/24 while some of the late sown crops i.e. December drilled are only starting tillering GS 21. Most crops are now starting to receive their N, P & K fertiliser application. Winter wheat varieties planted in January or February should be treated as spring crops.
Many crops are approaching early flowering stage and will start fully flowering over the next week or so. Herbicide applications are now completed and it is now very late for light leaf spot control if no fungicide has been applied.
Most crops are now approaching GS 30 so there will be a few critical jobs that will need to be completed over the coming weeks. Overall weed burden and disease levels are reported to be low.
The first of this year's spring beans have been planted in the last few days. Early planting is a key driver of yield so planting of beans should take precedence over other spring crops. Pre emergence herbicide application is essential to good weed control. The protein payment is available again in 2020 but seed availability will limit the area sown.
The improvement in the weather over the last few days has allowed most farmers to get some ploughing done while some sowing has been done on drier ground. Good progress is expected to be made with sowing over the next few days but experience has shown that it is better to delay sowing for an extra day or two to get field conditions right. Spring wheat will take priority over barley and oats to avoid later harvesting. Incorporation of N,P & K in the seedbed is important for early development especially for malting barley.